The Salvation Army and Consumers Energy to receive Joint Energy Award

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Salvation Army is proud to honor our local energy partners that make utilities affordable for community members in need. On Tuesday, June 28, we’re recognizing Consumers Energy and Peoplecare at the National Energy & Utility Affordability Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for their outstanding work. Read the press release below (or visit www.sawmni.org) to learn how their collaboration has benefited thousands of households and individuals who need it most:

The Salvation Army and Consumers Energy to receive Joint Energy Award

Awards ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, June 28, 8:00 a.m. at the National Energy & Utility Affordability Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI June 27, 2011 – After many years of significant collaboration between The Salvation Army and electric and gas utility companies across the nation, The Salvation Army will present an annual recognition award to outstanding examples of such collaborations which jointly manage a utility affordability program, acknowledging the importance of these programs which provide energy assistance to our most vulnerable citizens in times of great need.

The recipients of the inaugural certificates are Consumers Energy and PeopleCare, a joint utility affordability program of the Western Michigan and Northern Indiana and the Eastern Michigan Divisions of The Salvation Army. In 2010, Consumers Energy customers, employees and retirees contributed more than $842,000 to PeopleCare to assist more than 4,800 Michigan households. PeopleCare helps provide emergency aid for items such as groceries, clothing, prescriptions, rent or mortgage payments. In 2011, Consumers Energy plans to contribute $1.5 million in energy bill credits to help cover the cost of electricity and natural gas for those in need.

“Because the number of people needing assistance has grown due to Michigan’s economy, we are providing an additional $1 million in Corporate Giving this year to The Salvation Army,” said John Russell, president and chief executive officer of Consumers Energy. “The Salvation Army, which determines eligibility for bill credits and assistance and distributes the aid, will use the added funds to provide long-term case management assistance to help improve household and financial stability,” Russell added.

“We are delighted to honor the work of both Consumers Energy and the PeopleCare program with this award,” said National Social Services Secretary Major Betty A. Israel. “We are equally pleased that we have a wonderful opportunity to provide programs and services that directly assist our neighbors in need,” Major Israel added.

Representatives of Consumers Energy and PeopleCare will be in attendance to receive the award from the National Social Services Secretary Major Betty A. Israel. The award will be presented at the National Fuel Fund Network Annual Meeting during the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference, Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 28, 2011 at 8:00 a.m.

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Energy Company Joins in Fight to Empower Those in Need

Monday, February 28, 2011

The national average cost of gas is $3.189/ gallon. (Ouch.)
This is expected to increase in the near future. (Double ouch.)
There’s also talk of the cost of food, clothes, and services increasing as a result. (Enough already!)
Finances are tight enough, and now there’s news that they’re going to get even tighter. For the many low income Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet, how do they not get swallowed by financial burdens, especially if they’re already behind?
I was excited to hear about a partnership between Consumers Energy and The Salvation Army’s Western Michigan & Northern Indiana Division that will empower clients to take control of their finances, starting with their energy bills.
Consumers Energy has donated $1 million to start a pilot program with the Army to help low income clients who are behind on their utility accounts. With this funding the Army will hire several case managers to basically create an attack plan against their debt. The case managers will work with people in need by 1.) thoroughly reviewing their household budgets 2.) setting financial goals and 3.) equipping them to better manage their finances overall and in turn effectively maintain their utility accounts.
It’s a great start to helping people escape the cycle of recurring need. Just tackling one small area of debt goes a long way in empowering people to take control in other areas of their finances.
This Salvation Army Division already serves 20,000 clients a year who are unable to pay their utility balance, so we’re grateful for Consumer Energy’s partnership in seeing significant need and helping us do something about it.
To read more about the pilot program, click here.

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