March 17, 2017 – With the close of the Lite-up Texas Program, low-income households across Texas are looking for other assistance to pay their electricity bills. Direct Energy’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program offers support for over 30 agencies in the state of Texas. Since 2003, according to the company, customer donations and funds provided by Direct Energy have helped over 53,000 customers pay their electric bills.
The assistance from customers starts with Direct Energy’s contribution. From there, customers have the option to add a donation to the Neighbor-to-neighbor fund. “It’s a lot like checking out at the grocery store and donating a canned food item or even just a single dollar,” says Matt Cook, Senior director of Operations at Direct Energy, “We have a simple model for our customers to help neighbors pay their bills and run their home.”
Direct Energy says it has made it easy for customers to make contributions to the program. Customers simply check a box on their online bill and enter a donation amount. If the customer has a paper bill, they can add the donation to a check. Through the program, over $700,000 has been provided to agencies across the state since the start of 2017.
Direct Energy has partnered with Austin-based Gridmates to provide a new platform for customers to make donations to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. The partnership will allow customer insights into their energy savings from month to month to use those savings towards donations, and share it with their local communities. The new platform is expected to roll out later this year.
Customers can receive assistance if they are under 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and may receive up to $700 a year through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. Customers who are past due on their electric bills are notified about the program using phone calls, flyers, and through educational resources on the Direct Energy website. Customer bills also include contact information for assistance agencies. “We recognize that Texans, anyone, can hit financially challenging times, and we want to make it easy for other customers to help them out,” says Cook. “It might just be electricity, but it’s spreading good energy from one home to another.”