Com­pany, stake­hold­ers cel­e­brate help­ing oth­ers

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter marks 25th an­niver­sary of help­ing low-in­come fam­i­lies

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary of “Help to Oth­ers Pro­gram.”

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary of “Help to Oth­ers Pro­gram.”

Also known as the H2O Pro­gram, it has pro­vided mil­lions of dol­lars in as­sis­tance to low-in­come fam­i­lies across the Com­mon­wealth, ac­cord­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter. The pro­gram has helped more than 17,000 cus­tomers with free wa­ter-sav­ing de­vices, ad­vice and plumb­ing re­pairs since 1991.

“The H2O Pro­gram is unique and a leader among wa­ter util­i­ties in Penn­syl­va­nia when talk­ing about low-in­come as­sis­tance pro­grams for wa­ter and waste­water cus­tomers,” Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter Op­er­a­tions Su­per­in­ten­dent Brian Hassinger said in a news re­lease. “Our pro­gram was the first its kind to be launched by a wa­ter util­ity in the United States.”

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter has a plant in South Coatesville. It serves ap­prox­i­mately 6,000 cus­tomers in Coatesville, South Coatesville, East Fal­low­field, Caln, West Caln, Val­ley, Sads­bury, West Sads­bury, High­land, West Brandy­wine and Parkes­burg.

The com­pany noted that rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Coatesville, West Caln and Brandy­wine Health Foun­da­tion were among the lo­cal stake­hold­ers who at­tended the cer­e­mony and lun­cheon at the Brandy­wine Cen­ter in West White­land to mark the an­niver­sary on Oct. 27.

Ad­min­is­tered by Dol­lar En­ergy Fund, the Help to Oth­ers Pro­gram has dis­trib­uted more than $3.8 mil­lion in as­sis­tance grants across the Com­mon­wealth since its in­cep­tion. Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter said it ex­tended the as­sis­tance pro­gram in 2013 to in­clude its waste­water cus­tomers and has pro­vided $60,000 in grants to 165 house­holds.

When it launched the pro­gram 25 years ago, Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter agreed to pro­vide as­sis­tance to low-in­come cus­tomers with­out a man­date from Penn­syl­va­nia’s Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion (PUC) and vol­un­tar­ily chose to par­tic­i­pate in the Dol­lar En­ergy Fund. Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, Hassinger read a procla­ma­tion from the PUC con­grat­u­lat­ing the com­pany on the an­niver­sary of “its suc­cess­ful, vol­un­tary low-in­come wa­ter as­sis­tance pro­gram.”

“We are very proud to have a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter,” said Mary Sally, cus­tomer ser­vice co­or­di­na­tor for Dol­lar En­ergy Fund. “For 25 years, our part­ner­ship with the H2O Pro­gram has of­fered valu­able as­sis­tance to thou­sands of dis­ad­van­taged fam­i­lies, en­abling them to keep their wa­ter flow­ing. Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter is a true ex­am­ple of a com­pany that cares, as they led the way to de­velop this type of pro­gram for low-in­come cus­tomers.”

Dol­lar En­ergy Fund noted it has pro­vided $131 mil­lion in util­ity as­sis­tance grants to more than 470,000 low-in­come fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als since 1983. The or­ga­ni­za­tion also as­sists lim­ited-in­come house­holds in 11 states.

Ac­cord­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter, the H2O Pro­gram has a three­fold ap­proach to as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing hard­ship grants, monthly ser­vice charge dis­counts and free wa­ter-sav­ing de­vices and ad­vice on how to use wa­ter more ef­fi­ciently.

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter has also en­gaged its statewide cus­tomer base in the pro­gram by pro­vid­ing the op­por­tu­nity to add a do­na­tion of one dol­lar or more to their monthly wa­ter bill. The com­pany matches those do­na­tions up to $250,000 per year. Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter said for more in­for­ma­tion, or for cus­tomers to see if they qual­ify for these pro­gram, contact Dol­lar En­ergy Fund toll-free at 1-888282-6816.

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter, a sub­sidiary of Amer­i­can Wa­ter, is the largest in­vestor-owned wa­ter util­ity in Penn­syl­va­nia, pro­vid­ing wa­ter and waste­water ser­vices to ap­prox­i­mately 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple. Founded in 1886, Amer­i­can Wa­ter is the largest publicly traded U.S. wa­ter and waste­water util­ity com­pany.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.amwa­ter.com.

Visit Daily Lo­cal News staff writer Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar’s blog about jour­nal­ism and vol­un­teer­ing as a fire­fighter at Fire­fight­erGinger.blogspot.com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Coatesville area stake­hold­ers gath­ered around the 25th an­niver­sary cake: From left to right are: (front row) Frances Shee­han, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Brandy­wine Health Foun­da­tion; Al­li­son Snavely, VISTA To­day; Pat Lovelace and Mary Sally from the Dol­lar En­ergy Fund; Jea­nine Kochmer and Erica Wal­ters, Com­mu­nity Youth and Women’s Al­liance (CYWA) Fam­ily Cen­ter; (back row) Larry Lukacs, Good Works Inc.; James Busch, Busch Plumb­ing; Jim Kelly, Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter; Brenda Moore, Bridge of Hope; Tom Sieden­buehl, West Caln; Brian Hassinger, Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter; Nick Lohr, In­ter­faith Hous­ing; and Ge­orge ìBudî Thomas, Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Penn­syl­va­nia Amer­i­can Wa­ter Op­er­a­tions Su­per­in­ten­dent Brian Hassinger explains how the pro­gram has been help­ing low-in­come fam­i­lies who might be strug­gling to pay their wa­ter and waste­water bills.

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