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Joe Kennedy Kicks Off Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program

BOSTON -- Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II kicked off the 2005-2006 season of the company’s Oil Heat Program with a news conference today at a Chelsea petroleum terminal.

Kennedy was joined at the Global Petroleum terminal by key partners in the heating initiative, including representatives of fuel assistance agencies, oil heat dealers, and corporate donors who enable the Oil Heat Program to expand its resources to families in need.

“This could be the toughest winter the poor ever faced,” said Kennedy. “Heating oil prices are up but federal fuel assistance has remained flat. With cold weather already gripping the region, our most vulnerable citizens are facing a triple-whammy.”

The Oil Heat Program provides once-a-season deliveries of up to 200 gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount to households who have exhausted their federal fuel assistance allotment or fall just outside the eligibility level for the federal benefit. An estimated 75% of fuel assistance households have already run through their benefit with the remainder expected to do so over the next few weeks.

In partnership with CITGO Petroleum, Citizens Energy is providing discount oil this year to federal fuel assistance households. Corporate donations are being used to expand the number of households who do not qualify for federal aid or who can’t afford to pay anything at all.

“Good corporate citizens like State Street Corporation, Bank of America, Citizens Bank, EMC Corp., Staples, Mellon Bank of New England, Gillette, John Hancock, Global Petroleum, and TJX Companies will help a lot of people stay warm this winter,” said Kennedy.

Here’s how the Oil Heat Program works:

• Households eligible for federal fuel assistance will automatically receive a letter from Citizens Energy authorizing them to contact their local heating oil dealer to receive a delivery of discount fuel.

• Callers to the Citizens Energy hotline (1-877-JOE-4-OIL/1-877-563-4645) who haven’t applied for the federal benefit will be directed to their local fuel assistance agency to apply.

• Callers who don’t qualify will be mailed a one-page application to fill out and return to Citizens Energy, which will send out authorization letters.

The Oil Heat Program works with 26 local Community Action Programs to identify households in need. Over 350 local heating oil dealers deliver the discount fuel. Key media partners include Massachusetts TV and radio stations that have donated airtime to public service announcements and outdoor advertising firms that have donated billboard space.

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