BOSTON -- Citizens Energy Corporation President Joseph P. Kennedy II announced the start of the company’s new Oil Heat Program today with the delivery of fuel to the apartment of a Boston retiree.
Kennedy delivered the oil on the morning of the Martin Luther King Holiday to the home of Carol Carreer, a retired nurse’s aide who depends on Social Security as her only source of income. Carreer, who lives with her niece Jean Hamilton in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood where she grew up, has a household income just $65 over the eligibility level for federal fuel assistance but qualifies for the Citizens program.
“There is no better way to make the 70th anniversary of Dr. King’s birthday than to work together to help our neighbors in need,” said Kennedy. Over the course of the coming weeks and months, we will help thousands of our neighbors keep warm.”
“Jean and I are so happy to receive this oil because we had no other programs to help us this winter,” said Carreer. “We’re so thankful to Citizens and everyone else involved in the program and we hope they can reach as many people as possible.”
Under the initiative, launched with the cooperation of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, over 300 Massachusetts oil heat dealers and the statewide network of 21 fuel assistance agencies, will make over two million gallons of fuel available to eligible households across the state over the winter heating season. Households can receive a one-time delivery of up to 150 gallons of fuel for 40 cents per gallon.
Under the program, households interested in purchasing discount fuel will call the toll free number 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645) and be referred to their local fuel assistance agency to file an application.
In addition, Citizens is working with a number of cities and towns in the Commonwealth to establish local fuel assistance accounts to expand the program and underwrite the household contribution of families experiencing extreme hardship.
The Citizens initiative has been established in the wake of declining federal commitment to fuel assistance. Over the last ten years, the federal program has been slashed in half, leaving thousands of low-income and elderly households without assistance.
To reach out to needy households as well as donors, Public Service Announcements designed pro-bono by the Hill Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos advertising agency have been running on television and radio stations, which have donated advertising time to the campaign. Billboards have also been donated by AK Media to assist outreach efforts.
The United Way of Massachusetts Bay has established the United Way Oil Heat Fund to receive contributions to the program. Donations should be made payable to:
United Way Oil Heat Fund P.O. Box 1381A Boston, MA 02205
“Working together, we’re sending a message that in this Commonwealth, no one should be left out in the cold,” said Kennedy.