Responsibility

Direct Energy helps elderly Texans keep cool

We recognise that for many people their homes are their castles; their safe-havens. And as an energy company, we can play a really important role ensuring homes stay that way by keeping them warm and well lit during winter and cool over summer.

On both sides of the Atlantic, we endeavour to do just that: we’re giving customers greater control over their consumption and making energy more affordable through energy efficiency and smart technology, we’re raising the standard of living in private rented accommodation through our partnership with Shelter and we’re also helping Government tackle fuel poverty by investing in organisations such as the British Gas Energy Trust, to ensure we reach those who need our support the most.

I wanted to focus today on our North America business, Direct Energy, and how they’re helping protect vulnerable Texans by keeping homes cool this summer.

For the second year running, Direct Energy has partnered with Neighborhood Centers Inc., an organisation that aims to transform communities for good – working with them to create innovative solutions to help low-income families discover sustainable strengths and skills necessary to become self-sufficient, productive and prosperous.

As part of the partnership, protecting the most vulnerable against Houston’s soaring heat is a priority. Together they identified 35 older people on a fixed income and unable to pay to have their air conditioning units repaired or replaced, or, who simply do not have enough units to cool the most-used rooms in their homes. To overcome this challenge, our Direct Energy and One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating business has committed to not only donate 35 portable air conditioning units that will help elderly residents stay cool, but they will also professionally install them over a three-day period.

Meggin Lorino, Director of Senior Activity and Education Services at Neighborhood Centers Inc said, “We are committed to the health and wellbeing of older adults so they may live safe and independent lives. Direct Energy’s donation allows our seniors to live in a comfortable and safe environment in their own homes.” And Jessica Mahaffey, Head of External Affairs at Direct Energy, stated that ‘“This donation exemplifies Direct Energy’s commitment to harnessing our energy expertise to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Direct Energy is also helping Texans keep cool through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor bill assistance programme. The programme provides grants totalling up to US$600 (£366) that will help meet the cost of energy bills, which can often peak during summer as demand for energy rises for air conditioning. And so far, we’ve helped over 45,700 customers through the programme.

Learn more about Neighbourhood Inc.’s work by visiting their website or read our 2013 CR Performance Review to find out how we’re supporting our vulnerable customers in the UK and North America

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