|Avista Utilities President Dennis |
Vermillion presents Larry Stuckart,
Executive Director of SNAP with a
donation from the Avista Project
Today Avista donated $200,000 to its Project Share Fund for energy assistance to residents in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. This is money the company donates to SNAP and other community action agencies, which turn around and give one-time emergency energy assistance to families in need during the winter heating season.
There are a few reasons why this donation – and this year – are significant. According to the community action agency directors who attended the check presentation today, their agencies are expecting an increase in assistance requests of around 40 percent. Many of the requests are coming from individuals who have never needed to request assistance, but have fallen on hard times due to job loss or other circumstances. Even those who are newly employed are feeling the pinch because they may not have received their first check yet.
Also significant is that this donation is not for individuals using a certain type of fuel – or even Avista customers. It’s for those in need in our communities, regardless of their fuel source or utility.
“Avista and our employees have a strong commitment to our communities and to the residents who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Our energy assistance programs, including Project Share, are important parts of our community partnership,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities, in a news release.
If you would like to support Project Share this year, you can add the amount you want to donate to your energy payment and write that amount in the Project Share line of your utility bill. You can also donate directly here.
All the money you donate goes directly to community action agencies. Avista just serves as the conduit. Today’s $200,000 donation is from Avista and did not include any donations customers made via their utility bills.
In addition to Project Share, several other programs for qualifying customers needing energy assistance are either sponsored or administered by Avista, including the Low Income Rate Assistance Program (LIRAP) for customers in Washington and Oregon. Under the LIRAP Program, funds collected from customers through a specific dollar amount approved by the state commissions are provided directly to community action agencies to assist customers with their energy bills. The company also sponsors programs such as the Customer Assistance Referral and Education Service (CARES), Senior Energy Conservation Workshops and, in Washington, the Senior Energy Outreach Program.