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Thousands of low-income Vermonters to receive help paying electric bills

Source: VT Digger, June 1, 2011, Press Release: David Reville, Communications Director, AARP Vermont “BURLINGTON, VT — A preliminary decision by a Vermont Public Service Board Hearing Officer would mandate the establishment of an Energy Support Program (ESP) that will provide electric bill assistance to the low-income ratepayers of CVPS and GMP. Vermont is the only state in the Northern US without such a program, and AARP Vermont has been fighting for such an outcome for more than seven years now and formally petitioned the Board on this matter two years ago after the Vermont Legislature paved the way for action by the Board. According to Greg Marchildon, AARP Vermont state director. “Hearing Officer June Tierney has made a careful, comprehensive, and thoughtful ruling on this matter and her diligence is to be applauded by all involved,” he said. Tierney’s “Proposal For Decision” now awaits Board ruling. The decision as outlined by Tierney established the need for this program very clearly: “Electricity is a necessity for a safe and healthy household. In 2009, there were 11,901 instances in Vermont of electric service disconnection. To lose electricity at a residence means to lose the light and heat of a home…. Electricity is a necessity that many Vermonters cannot afford.” Marchildon stressed the impact on older residents. “A utility-based energy support program will help to make Vermont more affordable for low and fixed-income seniors who want to remain in their homes as they age. Older and economically disadvantaged residents are hardest hit by high electric bills and need electricity to keep the furnace running, to power their phones and to live a normal life. Sadly, many seniors and others forgo medications and even food to keep the electric bills paid,” he said. In Vermont, 40% of seniors over age 75 live on an annual income of $21,660 or less annually and more than half would qualify for the ESP…” Full Story: Thousands of low-income Vermonters to receive help paying electric bills PDF of Story: Thousands of low-income Vermonters to receive help paying electric bills

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