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ENERGYSHARE APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR HELP WITH HEATING BILLS

 RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today, EnergyShare applications will be accepted for those who need help paying their winter home heating bill.
 The program, marking its 10th year, provides emergency assistance to pay any energy bill -- electricity, oil, gas, wood or coal. Payments will begin as soon as applications are approved.
 Applications will be accepted by designated health and social service agencies throughout Virginia Power's service area. Forms can be submitted through May 28, 1993.
 "As EnergyShare enters its 10th year, the economy appears to be improving slowly," Robert F. Hill, senior vice president-commercial operations, said. "But demand for fuel assistance is expected to be great again this year -- especially as many families find themselves in need for the first time."
 EnergyShare has helped more than 130,000 people in its first nine years.
 It is a program of last resort. To qualify for assistance, a person must live in the Virginia Power service area, be in danger of losing an important source of heat, have exhausted federal or state fuel assistance or have been ruled ineligible.
 An EnergyShare recipient must have a household income no higher than one-half of the local median income level, be unemployed or demonstrate a personal or family crisis.
 To ensure the widest possible distribution of EnergyShare assistance, persons eligible can receive only one payment of up to $500 during the heating season. During the 1991-92 program, 5,300 households -- more than 17,000 people -- were helped by EnergyShare. Unfortunately, 6,000 people had to be turned away because the program ran out of money.
 The easiest way to contribute to EnergyShare is to add $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25 or $35 to monthly Virginia Power bills. Contributions in any amount may be mailed to EnergyShare, P.O. Box 12083, Richmond, Va. 23241-0083. This year, for the first time, donations will be accepted throughout the year. Contributions are tax deductible.
 Funds collected through the program will be distributed by local health and social service agencies in the Virginia Power service area. Payments go directly to the energy vendor on behalf of the applicant.
 Virginia Power contributes $67,000 to local non-profit agencies to help cover the costs of administering EnergyShare so that all money donated to the program goes to help pay heating bills. Virginia Power also will contribute $50,000 in matching funds to help persons in need pay their Virginia Power bill.
 This year, EnergyShare kicked off Oct. 1 with a special 10th anniversary focus on senior citizens. Adults age 60 and older who received EnergyShare benefits last winter are eligible to receive a "Light Pack" that includes six energy-efficient light bulbs, a handbook listing Virginia Power programs for seniors and information on how to stretch energy dollars. So far, more than 700 light packs have been distributed to eligible seniors.
 -0- 12/18/92
 /CONTACT: Charles H. Taylor of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/


CO: Virginia Power ST: Virginia IN: OIL UTI SU:

MH -- DC016 -- 8181 12/18/92 11:45 EST
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Date:Dec 18, 1992
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