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Montana Fuel Fund Gets New Director

October 4 -- Rachel Haberman, who has been the program and office manager as well as the deputy director for Energy Share of Montana for the last 16 years, recently took over as executive director. She replaces Gregg Groepper, who served as director for 14 years.

Energy Share is a statewide fuel fund organized in 1982 to provide a source of funds to help fixed and low- income Montanans who have energy-related emergencies and have no other resources. It is funded with private donations, primarily from the state’s power companies and cooperatives and the state’s largest power users. Last year Energy Share provided an average of $370 in assistance to 2,355 households.

While Energy Share coordinates with the state’s LIHEAP, there are major differences between the two programs.  Whereas LIHEAP is available to qualified people on an ongoing basis, Energy Share is meant more for one-time use.

“It’s for families or households who have unforeseen circumstances,” Haberman told the Helena Independent Record newspaper. “It could be that medical bills have piled up; it could be as simple as having a car break down and needing to pay to have it repaired. But it’s essentially a once-in-a-lifetime service, a temporary thing for someone who needs a hand up.”

During the 2007-08 heating season, 35 percent of Energy Share applicants cited unemployment as the reason they needed assistance, by the 2009-10 season, that had increased to 45 percent.

Visit the Energy Share website for additional information.

Source: Energy Share, Independent Record