Beginning in 1979 with oil-trading ventures in Latin America and Africa, Citizens has used revenues from commercial enterprises to channel millions of dollars into charitable programs in the U.S. and abroad. Whether heating the homes of the elderly and the poor, lowering the cost of prescription drugs for millions of Americans, or starting solar heating projects in Jamaica and Venezuela, Citizens has created social ventures as innovative as the businesses that finance them.
Citizens Energy Corporation, formed in response to the oil-price shocks of the 1970s, signed its first crude oil contract with Venezuela in November 1979. Joseph P. Kennedy II arranged refining deals, signed storage agreements with major terminal operators and contracted with hundreds of retail dealers to deliver heating oil to needy Massachusetts families at 40 percent below market rates. By the end of its first 18 months of operations, Citizens Energy had acquired and delivered more than 13 million gallons of heating oil to elderly and poor families in Massachusetts. In addition, Massachusetts itself purchased discounted heating oil from Citizens Energy, using state and federal energy assistance funds to expand the number of households served. Over the next decades, Citizens entered into purchasing agreements with other petroleum-producing nations, including Ecuador, Nigeria and Angola, and used the profits to dramatically reduce the cost of home heating oil for the poor and elderly.
Starting with that first oil contract in 1979, Citizens Energy Corporation began charitable programs to provide free or discounted home heating oil to low-income families that would eventually serve over 2 million people across the U.S. Profits were also used to create innovative social programs in countries where we were doing business. Citizens installed solar hot water heating systems in maternity hospitals in Venezuela and Jamaica, started bio-mass projects in Costa Rica, and helped jump-start the creation of Angola’s first private university, the Catholic University of Angola.
Supported by over $500 million in donated oil from CITGO Petroleum Corporation over the course of a decade, Citizens began running a national heating assistance program in 2005. Eventually reaching families in 25 states and the District of Columbia, the Oil Heat Program became known as JOE-4-OIL—the phone number that low-income families called every winter to request heating assistance. Eligible recipients under the program received a one-time delivery of 100 gallons of home heating oil. As part of the JOE-4-OIL program supported with the CITGO funding, Citizens Energy also sought to serve families in need who lived in multi-family housing, homeless shelters, and on Native American reservations.
Through the Citizens Energy Building Program, 22 million gallons of home heating oil reached 230,000 low-income apartments across over 1,700 different buildings in the New York area, securing a rent-reduction for tenants. Many participating buildings were tenant-owned co-operatives. The program also provided $18 million towards energy conservation and weatherization projects that reduced waste, lowered costs, and improved energy efficiency. Citizens Energy began making fuel grants in 2007 to tribes from Maine to Alaska through the Tribal Heating Assistance Program. With 28% of all Native American households living below the poverty line, many of the poorest communities in the United States received part of the $20 million home heating grants delivered through the program. The program grew to serve over 30,000 households in 272 tribal communities.
To reach homeless families and individuals, Citizens Energy used donated CITGO oil to warm over 300 shelters in 11 states, expanding our existing Shelter Winter Assistance Program that began in the 1980s. The program also helped finance upgrades that would save $1 million on annual energy bills at shelters, allowing them to stretch limited resources to serve even more homeless families and individuals.
Learn more about our Citizens Energy Shelter Winter Assistance Program.
Businesses interested in partnering with Citizens Energy on oil ventures should contact:
Pete Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about What We Do.
With the nation facing alarming increases in natural gas prices in the early 1980s, Citizens Energy Corporation began exploring opportunities to enter into the natural gas market. Citizens Energy believed that the same business model used in its Oil Heat Program – the use of for-profit opportunities to drive down the price of heating oil – could be applied to the natural gas industry.
Partial de-regulation of the gas industry in the early 1980’s offered Citizens Energy with a window of opportunity into a previously exclusive market. In an effort to topple long-standing monopolies over access to the distribution system, Citizens Energy mounted a landmark federal regulatory challenge, attempting to reduce the price of natural gas by allowing more competitors to enter into the market, which would benefit consumers and the national economy.
After Columbia Pipeline, one of the nation’s largest pipeline owners, was charged with practices that resulted in over-billing of end-users, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) threatened to revoke Columbia’s license. The head of Columbia proposed opening its pipeline to Citizens Energy as part of its settlement. FERC approved the proposal and Citizens Energy entered the natural gas industry full force through its subsidiary, Citizens Gas Supply Corporation.
Citizens Gas Supply soon became involved in the construction of new gathering facilities, designed to bring free-market gas into the interstate pipeline. By the end of 1986, Citizens had access to a total combined throughput of 18 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Within one year of its founding, Citizens Gas Supply was one of the nation’s largest independent movers of natural gas, buying and selling an average of 270 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, while distributing more than $160 million worth of gas per day throughout 17 states.
Ultimately, Citizens Gas Supply managed to enter into agreements with 38 pipeline operators throughout the United States, making it possible for the company to purchase and transport natural gas from and to nearly every domestic geographic market. In addition to its trading activities, Citizens Gas Supply made significant investments in gathering systems, strategic pipeline interconnects, storage facilities, firm transportation, and downstream facilities.
Many of these activities were pursued through joint ventures with established industry leaders, including National Fuel Gas Company and the Victoria Gas Company. In 1993, Citizens Gas Supply Corporation was sold to Western Gas Resources in Denver, Colorado, along with other natural gas-related assets of the company.
Since entering the natural gas market in the 1980's, Citizens Energy operated a Natural Gas Assistance Program to provide fuel to low-income families in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. This program expanded to serve Massachusetts in 2007 when Citizens Energy began a partnership with Distrigas. Operating for over 30 years, the Natural Gas Assistance Program provided more than $20 million in assistance to over 150,000 families.
Businesses interested in partnering with Citizens Energy on natural gas ventures should contact:
Pete Smith at email@example.com
In 1985, Citizens Energy began its electricity industry operations by buying power from utilities with surplus generating capacity, reselling the excess power to other utilities, and using the profits to help low-income families pay their electricity bills. This initial experience ultimately led Citizens to win a landmark federal decision that foreshadowed the deregulation of the electricity industry and the formation of an independent Citizens Energy electric power marketing company.
In the early 1980s, Citizens Energy partnered with the Utah Municipal Power Agency to make surplus generating capacity available to third-party buyers in the Southwest. Citizens then used the profits to benefit low-income households served by the utility. Within two years, the Citizens was buying and selling more than 3.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity and delivering assistance to needy customers of three California and Utah utilities.
Building on this experience, Citizens Energy formed the nation’s first independent electric power marketer in 1988 – Citizens Power & Light Corporation. This company’s mission was to acquire, exchange, and market electric power under contracts extending from several months to several decades.
Before launching its electricity operations, Citizens Energy won a landmark decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that foreshadowed the eventual deregulation of the electricity industry. FERC approved Citizens’ innovative petition to allow Citizens to buy and sell inter-utility electricity without restrictive rate regulation. This pioneering decision enabled Citizens Power & Light to close more than 30 major power sale contracts within a few years, becoming the nationally recognized leader in the field of electricity power marketing.
Citizens Power & Light’s customers ranged from major electric utilities throughout North America to the fast-growing independent power development industry. Citizens Power & Light increased the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of selling power in the hugely fragmented electricity market by providing services to reduce risks, lower generating costs, and adding value. Among these services, Citizens developed and implemented effective demand-side management programs, which have since become increasing common strategies for electricity users to reduce their energy use and save money.
In 1995, Citizens Power & Light formed a partnership with Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. and was renamed Citizens Lehman Power LP. Citizens Energy eventually sold its interest in the partnership.
Businesses interested in partnering with Citizens Energy on electricity ventures should contact:
Pete Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens Conservation Corporation was created in 1981 to augment Citizens Energy’s fuel assistance programs. Recognizing that the least expensive form of energy is the energy saved through conservation and efficiency, Citizens Energy saw that its subsidized home heating oil often was wasted in poorly weatherized apartments with inefficient heating systems. By providing design, engineering, and construction management services, Citizens Conservation reduced energy waste in tens of thousands of housing units and made rental housing more livable and affordable.
Federal and state-funded weatherization programs existed at the time to provide conservation services to the poor, but Citizens Energy tried another approach. By appealing to the business concerns of building owners, Citizens sought to provide conservation and efficiency savings based on the performance of the improvements, rather than as a giveaway. Citizens Conservations’ strategy – to invest against projected savings – led to the company helping to reduce energy demand in thousands of housing units throughout the country.
Unlike most other energy service companies, which focused on retrofitting single-family homes or commercial and industrial facilities, Citizens Conservation concentrated on the most challenging segment of the energy conservation market – multi-family rental housing for low- and moderate-income residents. Citizens Conservation worked with building owners, real estate management companies, and utilities to provide a maximum level of investment to improve the building’s energy efficiency, generating long-term energy and building maintenance cost savings.
Citizens Conservation conducted rigorous building-specific energy audits and then created state-of-the-art engineering designs and financing arrangements to implement the recommended building improvements. Citizens Conservation also managed the construction process and provided educational programs for building managers and residents. In this manner, Citizens documented average energy savings for heating and hot water that reached 40 percent, with some energy reductions as high as 75 percent. Tens of thousands of apartments received Citizens Conservation retrofits, reducing energy demand and delivering millions of dollars in energy savings to taxpayers and residents.
In 1983, Citizens Energy formed a related company, Citizens Heat and Power Company, to provide similar energy conservation and efficiency services at major industrial and commercial properties. That company built a client portfolio of 170 separate buildings in four states, including hospitals, nursing homes, school departments, and municipal, county, and state government office buildings.
Citizens Heat and Power was sold to a major utility in 1986, while Citizens Conservation Corporation was sold in 1995 to Eastern Utility Corporation.
Businesses interested in partnering with Citizens Energy on conservation projects should contact:
Pete Smith at email@example.com
Citizens Energy’s first steps in the renewable energy sector took place in the early 1980s, when its electricity trading division began wheeling wind power from the Pacific Northwest into California. Committed to clean, renewable power to reduce carbon emissions and dependence on foreign fuel sources, Citizens Energy launched Citizens Wind in 2003 and Citizens Solar in 2010. We conduct our development activities in a socially responsible manner, with particular focus on environmental sensitivity and respect for the local communities in which we operate. Citizens Solar and Citizens Wind are unique in the renewable energy industry: Our profits support charitable programs to cover the energy needs of low-income households.
Founded in 2010, Citizens Solar has become one of the largest solar developers in the state of Massachusetts. As of 2013, Citizens Solar completed the construction of a $50 million portfolio of nine distributed solar projects totaling over 18 megawatts.
Citizens Solar works with a diverse array of government and private sector entities to develop solar sites, allowing our partners save on electricity costs while contributing clean and green energy to the grid.
With sites ranging from a converted landfill to an heirloom potato farm, Citizens Solar is experienced in a wide range of partnerships. Private businesses and landowners who lease their land to Citizens Solar can expect years of revenue produced by local sources of clean renewable energy.
Businesses that are interested in partnering with Citizens Solar should contact:
Brian Morrissey at firstname.lastname@example.org
The first project in Citizens Wind’s portfolio was a 34.5-megawatt (MW) facility in Munnsville, N. Y., that went online in 2007. We also co-developed a 198-MW project on Wolfe Island, Ontario, that began construction in July 2008 and entered commercial operation a year later. Citizens Wind has expertise in all aspects of the wind development process from site identification to procurement and construction. Citizens Wind is developing an additional 200 megawatts of wind.
Businesses that are interested in partnering with Citizens Wind should contact:
Pete Smith at email@example.com
Citizens Medical began working with the pharmaceutical industry in 1985, coordinating the donation of relief supplies to Ethiopia during a widespread famine. Soon after, Citizens Medical established a joint venture with Medco Containment Services Inc., the world’s largest mail order pharmacy and leader in cost-containment programs, for prescription drugs.
Citizens Medical negotiated price discounts for large employee and union groups, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, NYNEX, and the National Association of Letter Carriers, with manufacturers and pharmacies. The company offered integrated mail service, prescription card and drug reimbursement programs, and tailored each prescription benefit plan to meet its client’s budget. Citizens Medical also offered professional services that focused on the customer’s direct needs, including a 24-hour toll free number for participants, specially trained customer service pharmacists to answer questions regarding medications, drug education materials to help familiarize patients with their medications, and various counseling programs to support the elderly.
Citizens Medical’s customers received an average savings of over 40% on drug delivery. In its second year Citizens Medical reached a 20% increase in the company’s market size from the previous year, with 1.2 million people eligible for its service.
By 1988 Citizens-Medco had become the largest broker of mail service prescriptions in the United States, with annual sales of $90 million. In 1993, Medco was taken over by Merck Co., a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and since 1999, Citizens Energy has continued to help market Merck-Medco’s prescription services.
The Citizens Medical model paved the way for a new industry of pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate discounts for buying groups from drug manufacturers and pharmacies.
In 2001, Citizens Health was launched as a discount pharmaceutical program for the uninsured. The company negotiated with drug companies and pharmacies to give its customers the same discounts received by families with insurance. Benefits included discounts for medications purchased at over 1,000 pharmacies or by mail order.
Citizens Health subsequently began to provide discounts on not only prescription drugs, but on a wide array of such medical services as vision, dental, hospital and doctor visits. The principle remained constant - to provide uninsured senior citizens and working families with the same level of discounts available to those with insurance.
The expansion of Medicare drug coverage to senior citizens and the broadening of access to health insurance through state and federal programs resulted in Citizens Health winding down operations after close to 10 years of providing the uninsured with more affordable health care.