October 8, 2008
DTE Energy and THAW Create New Energy Assistance Program
DETROIT, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- With the overall cost of energy on the rise and this extra burden weighing heavily on Michigan families as winter approaches, DTE Energy and The Heat And Warmth Fund (THAW) today announced the creation of Cents for Energy, a voluntary new energy assistance program allowing DTE Energy customers to round up their utility bills to the nearest dollar to help those in need.
"Cents for Energy gives our customers a simple, automated way to provide energy assistance to households facing utility service shutoff," said Joyce Hayes-Giles, senior vice president of customer service for DTE Energy. "The money collected through this program will help a growing segment of our population -- working individuals and families who struggle to make ends meet, but may not qualify for other assistance programs."As Cents for Energy participants, DTE Energy customers have three donation options, including to:
-- round up their utility bill to the nearest dollar; -- round up their utility bill to the nearest dollar and add up to $10; -- make a one-time donation directly to THAW.
All funds raised through the Cents for Energy program will be administered by THAW, an independent Michigan nonprofit that has provided emergency energy assistance throughout Michigan since 1986.
"As our economy continues to slow, it becomes more important than ever for us to assist as many people as possible," said John X. Miller, CEO of THAW. "We commend DTE Energy for its creation of this accessible, easy-to-use program, and we are proud to be their partners in helping our community."
Money collected through the Cents for Energy program will be targeted to DTE Energy customers who are experiencing severe difficulty paying their utility bills, and who have a gross household income that is between 201 percent and 250 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For a family four, this equates to an annual income of approximately $40,000 to $50,000.
"With Michigan's difficult economy, there are a growing number of working families that struggle to meet basic financial obligations -- but don't meet guidelines for most assistance programs," Miller said. "By targeting customers at a slightly higher income level than THAW normally assists, DTE Energy is providing a safety net to individuals and families that might otherwise fall through the cracks."
DTE Energy customers can self-enroll in Cents for Energy by clicking on the program icon at http://www.my.dteenergy.com/ or http://www.thawfund.org/. Customers also can enroll by calling DTE Energy customer service at (800) 477-4747. Customers who choose to participate in the Cents for Energy program can modify their donation amount or cancel participation at any time.
October has been designated as Energy Awareness month by the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm. For more information on the activities surrounding this designation, please visit the THAW web site at http://www.thawfund.org/.
DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, coal and gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at http://www.dteenergy.com/.
THAW is an independent, statewide nonprofit agency that provides emergency energy assistance to low-income households throughout 73 Michigan counties. Since its inception in 1986, it has provided $59.2 million in assistance to more than 116,402 Michigan households who found themselves in temporary crisis. During the 2006-2007 heating season, THAW distributed more than $9,687,260 in energy assistance to more than 9,000 households. For more information on THAW, please call 1-800-866-THAW (8429), or visit the Web site at http://www.thawfund.org/.
CONTACT: Michelle Zdrodowski, Franco Public Relations Group,+1-313-567-5017 (office), +1-313-418-4033 (cell); Len Singer of DTE Energy,+1-313-235-8809
Web site: http://www.my.dteenergy.com/http://www.thawfund.org/http://www.dteenergy.com/