DTE Energy Company : DTE Energy and THAW Partner to Help Detroiters Stay Warm
11/08/2011| 08:06am US/Eastern
DETROIT, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- DTE Energy and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) have partnered to present the Week of Warmth celebration in an effort to provide more than $1 million in energy assistance to vulnerable Michigan families.
With tough economic conditions continuing and winter just around the corner, DTE Energy and THAW are working to highlight how cuts in government funding for home energy assistance programs could impact Michigan residents.
"With the potential cuts to state and federal payment assistance funding and with social service budgets stretched thin, low-income customers will likely find themselves struggling to pay their winter energy bills," said Gerry Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO of DTE Energy. "DTE Energy, in partnership with The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), recognizes the need to bring corporate, individual and community partners together to provide assistance and holistic solutions."
Anderson will chair the Week of Warmth. He will be joined by Honorary Chairs Gov. Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, William Clay Ford Jr., Phillip Cooley, Bertram Marks, Cynthia Pasky and James Vella.
In 2010, 615,000 Michigan households relied on the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help pay their utility bills. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama's administration proposed cuts of nearly $2.5 billion, equal to a 50 percent reduction of the authorized $5.1 billion in LIHEAP funding. While proposals in Congress are calling for a more modest 25 percent cut, funding for Michigan residents could be reduced to $120 million next year, compared to the $326 million this year.
The Week of Warmth is a series of events designed to raise awareness of the issue of energy assistance, provide energy efficiency education and highlight the need for public/private sector collaboration to help struggling low-income families in need. It includes:
-- THAW's Night of Warm Hearts charity fundraiser at DTE Energy
-- Neighborhood Energy Efficiency Day at New Prospect Missionary Baptist
Church in Detroit
-- Warmth with Wings at the Joe Louis Arena
-- Hallelujah for Heat gospel concert at Second Ebenezer Baptist Church in
-- Customer Assistance Day at Cobo Hall in Detroit
"We are working diligently with DTE Energy and other utility providers to advocate on behalf of Michigan families in need, for short and long-term solutions to the funding cuts," said Susan Sherer, CEO of THAW, which distributed assistance to 12,000 households in Michigan in 2010. "We are asking that individuals and private funders stand in the gap this winter to help THAW provide utility assistance to as many Michigan residents in need as possible."
Every dollar raised during the campaign will be distributed to customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills and maintain their service. Human services, wellness, and credit and housing agencies will join DTE Energy and THAW in providing much needed assistance.
To donate, people can use their mobile phones and text the word THAW to 50555 to make a $10 donation, or they can log on to www.thawfund.org.
"Understanding that this could be a difficult winter, it is critical that we hear from our customers the moment they sense that there's a problem," said Joyce Hayes Giles, assistant to the chairman and senior vice president of Customer Service for DTE Energy."
Working with our partners at THAW to reach our most vulnerable customers early will give us the best chance to make sure everyone stays warm this winter."
Co-sponsors of the Week of Warmth include Ford Motor Co Fund & Community Services and SAP Industries, Inc. For more information about the "Week of Warmth" go to www.weekofwarmth.org.
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) 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 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan; MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan; and other non-utility energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading.
About The Heat and Warmth Fund
The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) is a Detroit-based leading provider of utility assistance for Michigan residents in need. THAW is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) agency that provides low-to-moderate income individuals and families throughout Michigan with emergency energy financial assistance. Since 1985, THAW has distributed more than $102 million in assistance to over 150,000 Michigan households.
SOURCE DTE Energy