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VISTA VOLUNTEERS WEATHERIZE LOW-INCOME HOMES UNDER PGW'S 'CONSERVATION WORKS' PROGRAM

 PHILADELPHIA, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Temperatures have skyrocketed lately and records have been broken, as a corps of 20 VISTA volunteers are working diligently to winterize low-income homes in Philadelphia, as part of the Philadelphia Gas Works' (PGW) $2.2 million "Conservation Works" program. The VISTA volunteers -- many whom are Philadelphia natives -- are part of President Bill Clinton's new program for national service; the program has recruited nearly 2,200 volunteers across the country in an effort called "Summer of Service."
 The local VISTA contingent works for the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) of Philadelphia, the local non-profit agency enlisted to carry out PGW's weatherization program. Their official titles are VISTA Summer Associates -- working for a modest $678 a month -- but their presence has been widespread and truly felt in the community.
 "The energy and enthusiasm of these youthful volunteers is very contagious," said Liz Robinson, executive director of ECA and a veteran of many campaigns aimed at improving energy assistance programs for the poor. "Their jobs range from serving as weatherization installers to outreach/intake workers, who sign up potential households for weatherization help. One of the volunteers has even served as a photographer to record highlights and progress. However, the bottom line for all of them is their love of community service."
 The VISTA workers are helping to provide weatherization services including draft proofing, caulking, weatherstripping, hot water conservation, minor home repairs, roof insulation, clock thermostats, energy education and other measures. These special services are provided to low-income customers who heat their homes with gas.
 PGW is committed to weatherizing nearly 1,600 low-income homes this year as part of its "Conservation Works" program. "This program has proven that conservation works for people," said Alfred P. Degen, executive vice president of PGW. "We believe that it's saving our customers a significant amount on their gas bill! We are providing this service because we recognize that some of our customers have difficulty keeping up with their bills."
 The VISTA volunteer effort will officially end on Aug. 9 when the volunteers will either return to their college studies this fall or enter the job market. But their summer experiences of working with weatherization crews and non-profit agencies will serve as a foundation for their life's work -- especially the number of low-income people they have been able to assist through their dedicated service.
 "Our corps of volunteers will be leaving us soon, but they have made such a lasting impression in the neighborhoods -- with the people receiving help and those of us at ECA and the Neighborhood Energy Centers who provide energy assistance help year round," said Robinson. "We hope they are back with us next summer ... in ever greater numbers."
 /delval/
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: Anthony DiTommaso of Philadelphia Gas Works, 215-684-6022, or Liz Robinson of ECA, 215-854-8030/


CO: Philadelphia Gas Works; Energy Coordinating Agency ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

MJ-CC -- PH039 -- 6931 07/28/93 16:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993
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