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 RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Virginia Power today launched its 1993-94 EnergyShare campaign to help families in crisis heat their homes during the winter. A fuel-assistance program of last resort, EnergyShare can pay any energy bill -- oil, gas, kerosene, electricity, coal or wood. The program is now in its 11th year.
 Continuing last year's emphasis on senior citizens and energy efficiency, the company also began its second "Light Pack" project to help senior citizens reduce energy use and save money. EnergyShare helped more than 900 elderly residents last year. Since the program began in 1983, about 7,600 senior citizens have received EnergyShare assistance.
 Light Pack was introduced last year for EnergyShare recipients age 60 and older. Each pack includes six energy-efficient light bulbs -- one compact fluorescent bulb, one Philips "Watchman" incandescent bulb with a special safety feature, two "energy pincher" incandescent bulbs, and two neon night lights.
 The pack also includes a resource guide to Virginia Power programs especially for seniors and information on how to get the most out of energy dollars. The resource book includes a self-guided energy audit. Company representatives will personally deliver Light Packs to participating seniors this fall.
 "While EnergyShare helps during tight times, the Light Pack provides information and energy-efficient products that can have a lasting effect on lowering energy bills for our senior citizens," said Eva S. Teig, Virginia Power's vice president-public affairs.
 EnergyShare helps many elderly residents, but it also helps children, the ill, the disabled -- anyone who is facing a financial hardship and is unable to heat their home. Last year, about 6,500 households -- 19,000 people -- received EnergyShare assistance, including more than 3,443 children under five years of age and 1,285 disabled persons. EnergyShare helped more than 149,000 people in its first decade.
 Despite an 18 percent increase in contributions to the program last year, 3,900 applicants had to be turned away because of limited funds.
 Today's EnergyShare announcement coincides with Virginia Power's October billing cycle. Customers will see a message on their bills and receive a special envelope announcing the start of EnergyShare and information on how to contribute. Again this year, contributions will be accepted throughout the year.
 To qualify for assistance, a person must live in the Virginia Power- North Carolina 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.
 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, are tax deductible and may be mailed to EnergyShare, P.O. Box 12083, Richmond, Va. 23241-0083.
 Funds collected through the program will be distributed by local health and social service agencies in the Virginia Power service area. The agencies will begin accepting EnergyShare applications Dec. 17. Payments go directly to the energy vendor on behalf of the applicant.
 Last year, EnergyShare contributions exceeded $1 million for the first time ever; $1,047,338 was contributed to the program. Customer contributions increased by 23 percent, to $851,000. Virginia Power contributed $117,874, including more than $55,000 from employees of Virginia Power and North Carolina Power and Dominion Resources Inc., their parent company.
 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.
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 /CONTACT: Charles H. Taylor of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/

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

IH-PB -- DC013 -- 7741 10/01/93 11:09 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 1, 1993

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