The state’s largest natural gas utility is asking its customers to pay a little extra each month, in a novel effort to help cover heating bills for low-income residents.
Piedmont Natural Gas, with 725,000 customers in the state, expects a surge of delinquent bills this winter in the midst of a grinding recession and is hoping to avert a corresponding increase in disconnected accounts.
The company this morning introduced a program to let its customers sign up to “round up” their bills, with the difference going to a fund to help residents who can’t afford to pay their utility bills. The program rounds up Piedmont customer bills to the nearest dollar and will result in an average monthly donation of 50 cents, or about $6 a year.
If 100,000 people sign up, Piedmont would raise about $600,000 a year toward the program. The company is contributing $100,000 of its own money and will contribute $50,000 more if 100,000 people sign up.
The money would be given to the state Department of Health and Human Services to distribute to social-service agencies. The donations would be distributed to all customers who can’t pay their utility bills, not just natural gas customers.
Here is a corporation that is using it’s position in society to help society. Further, it is doing it by asking, not forcing by fiat. Further, Progress is putting it’s money where it’s mouth is; they are donating $100,000 of their own money to the program. Lastly, they are giving the money to social-service agencies to distribute as needed; not force those agencies to simply return that money to Progress.
Kudos to Progress Energy!