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Neighbor To Neighbor Program Kicks Off 2012-2013 Program Year

October 4, 2012

[October 4, 2012 – COLUMBUS, OH] – The Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, a partnership between AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), and Dollar Energy Fund, one of the largest hardship funds in the country, is now providing utility assistance grants for the 2012-2013 program year.  Eligible, low-income AEP Ohio customers can apply for assistance to maintain or restore safe electric service.
 
Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program provides one-time assistance to families facing an immediate utility crisis.  With help from the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, families in need can receive a grant that’s applied directly to their AEP Ohio account and prevents the termination of their electric service.
 
“As the current economic situation continues to impact our communities, many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet,” says Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Neighbor to Neighbor Program will be available to reach out and lend a helping hand to Ohio’s low-wage workers as they are wondering how they will feed their families and cover all other household costs.”
 
AEP Ohio and Dollar Energy Fund launched the Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program in May 2009. Since then, approximately 22,500 Ohio families have received more than $5.6 million in utility assistance grants. Last year, the Neighbor to Neighbor Program helped over 2,600 low-income families with their AEP Ohio electric bill.
 
“Many Ohio families are still experiencing financial hardships and this program continues to provide much needed assistance to help get them back on their feet,” said Pablo Vegas, president and chief operating officer for AEP Ohio. “AEP Ohio is committed to continuing to help customers through these challenging economic times.”
 
The Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio Community Based Organizations are now taking applications. To qualify, total gross household income must be at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. For example, a family of four earning up to $57,625 per year is income eligible for the program. Households must have made a sincere effort of payment on their electric bill in the last 90 days and have a back balance. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at www.dollarenergyfund.org.
 
The program will accept heating assistance applications through April 30, 2013, for customers whose service is off or in threat of termination.  The program will reopen from June 1, 2013, through August 31, 2013, for households seeking cooling assistance.
 
The Neighbor to Neighbor Program in Ohio is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar for dollar by AEP Ohio.  Utility customers may make a contribution through their monthly AEP Ohio bill. Donations can also be made online at www.dollarenergyfund.org or by sending a check directly to the Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, L-3285, Columbus, OH 43266-3285. Every donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program receives is used to assist low-income families residing in Ohio.
 
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for the Hardship Program or donate to the organization, visit www.dollarenergyfund.org.
 
About Dollar Energy Fund, Inc:  Dollar Energy Fund was founded in 1983 and has grown to become one of the largest hardship funds in the United States. Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization operating in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Maryland, Louisiana and West Virginia. Throughout its history, the organization has provided over $92 million in utility assistance grants to over 324,000 low-income families and individuals.
 
All donations to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, administered by Dollar Energy Fund, will assist low-income families residing in Ohio. Additional information can be found on Dollar Energy Fund’s website, www.dollarenergyfund.org.
  

Mark Rickel
614-232-8309

Shelly Clark, AEP Ohio
866-530-9775

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