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Local News: Winter Warmth Fund Black Habits Articles United Way, Enbridge Gas Distribution and Toronto Hydro have launched the 2005 - 2006 Winter Warmth Fund to provide financial assistance to low-income families and individuals struggling to pay their heating and electricity bills.

The fund was initially established in Toronto during the winter of 2004, and since that time has expanded to include more communities throughout Ontario. Resources for the annual program are contributed by Enbridge Gas Distribution and Toronto Hydro, and are available to eligible customers of both companies. The program is administered by United Way through its network of community-based agencies.

"We're actively promoting these funds through our network so we can touch as many households as possible with this vital program," said Frances Lankin, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Greater Toronto. "United Way is proud to partner with Enbridge Gas Distribution and Toronto Hydro in making this initiative possible."

This year, in addition to providing financial aid, the Winter Warmth program has expanded to ensure that eligible households also receive help improving the energy efficiency of their residences. As part of the program for 2005 - 2006, fund recipients who are homeowners will be offered a personal visit from an energy efficiency expert who can outfit them with energy saving tools. These include a free programmable thermostat, low-flow showerheads, pipe wrap and aerators for kitchen and bathrooms from Enbridge Gas Distribution, as well as compact fluorescent light bulbs from Toronto Hydro.

"This fall and winter rising natural gas prices will stretch home heating budgets, especially for low-income families and individuals," said Jim Schultz, President, Enbridge Gas Distribution. "Lending a helping hand in the communities we serve is core to our values, and we're proud to continue our support for the Winter Warmth Fund."

Last year the Winter Warmth Fund helped more than 1,000 households in Ontario. "This is a very important program and, unfortunately, it's needed in our community," said David O'Brien, President and CEO of Toronto Hydro Corporation. "The Winter Warmth Fund is there to help customers in need to get through the cold winter heating months. Toronto Hydro, Enbridge and United Way, working together, will be able to provide relief to low-income families again this winter."

Households living below or near the poverty line who are in arrears or at risk of going into arrears on their Enbridge Gas Distribution natural gas bills or Toronto Hydro electricity bills, and have exhausted all other sources of financial support should apply.

Families and individuals needing financial assistance to pay their Enbridge Gas Distribution or Toronto Hydro bills can apply for assistance through their United Way local lead agency for the initiative, where information about the Winter Warmth Fund will be posted. Enbridge Gas Distribution and Toronto Hydro call centers will also advise customers about the fund, where applicable, and direct them to contact the appropriate agency to see if they qualify.

A one-time credit will be posted directly to a qualified applicant's Enbridge Gas Distribution or Toronto Hydro account.

Contacts: Enbridge 416-495-5662; United Way 416-777-1444; Hydro 416-542-2621
Posted on Sunday, December 11 @ 00:00:00 UTC by jcohen

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