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$10,000 boost for EnergyShare

The environment — and people who need energy assistance — now have 10,000 more reasons to smile.

Dominion and Fiserv, Inc. recently announced that the two companies will donate $10,000 to Dominion’s EnergyShare program, which helps pay heating and cooling costs for people facing financial hardship.

The $10,000 represents $1 for every Dominion customer who elected to receive bills electronically and turned off their paper statement between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28.

Demand for heating assistance was high this winter because of difficult economic conditions and unusually cold weather. The program offered an incentive for people to choose paperless billing and help their community, said Karl Neddenien, spokesman for Dominion.

“In the current economic conditions, more people than ever are in need,” Nedennien said.

The EnergyShare program operates year-round to provide heating assistance in the winter and cooling assistance in the summer. Eligible people can receive a one-time payment of up to $600 per season to help with an energy bill.

Those who are eligible must live in Dominion’s service area, be in jeopardy of losing an important heat or cooling source, be unemployed or demonstrate a personal or family crisis, and meet income-based eligible requirements as determined by the screening agency.

In Suffolk, the screening agency is the Salvation Army.

Payments from the EnergyShare program go directly to the energy vendor on behalf of the recipient.

“EnergyShare is a program of last resort for people who find themselves in real need and may not be able to pay for the fundamentals of heating in the winter and cooling in the summer,” Neddenien said.

EnergyShare contributions are accepted year-round. Dominion customers can help support the EnergyShare program by adding $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25 or $35 to the amount due on their bill. Overpayments in these exact amounts are automatically recognized as a contribution and documented on the next bill. Virginia customers can also mail a check of any amount to EnergyShare, P.O. Box 11186, Richmond, VA 23230-1186.

To contact the Salvation Army for EnergyShare assistance, call 539-5201 or visit its office at 400 Bank St.