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Joe Kennedy Kicks Off Oil Heat Program

BOSTON -- Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II kicked off the 2004-2005 season of the company’s Oil Heat Program with a delivery of low-cost heating oil to a Jamaica Plain family.

Kennedy drove a Star Five Oil truck to the Rossmore Road home of Eugenia Lee, who works part-time at a local public school while raising three children and twin grandchildren. Lee qualifies for federal fuel assistance and has turned to the Oil Heat Program for half-price fuel after her federal benefit has run out.

The Citizens Energy chairman was assisted in the delivery by corporate partners who have made donations to increase the number of households the Oil Heat Program will reach this winter.

“The sharp rise in oil prices has hit working families hard,” said Kennedy. “Fortunately, a number of good corporate citizens have come forward to help us extend our reach to even more households this winter. I want to especially thank partners like State Street Bank for their longtime support and leadership in making sure that those struggling to make ends meet can stay a little warmer during the cold winter months.”

State Street has made a $100,000 donation to the MASSCAP Oil Heat Fund for the fourth straight year. Bank of America also made a $100,000 contribution. Other leadership donations came from Mellon Bank, John Hancock, Gillette, Global Petroleum, Staples, EMC, Citizens Bank, National Grid, TJX, ThermoElectron, and Gulf Oil.

“State Street believes that investing in a community’s basic needs is one of the most important roles that socially responsible corporations can play,” said George Russell, Vice President of State Street Bank. “We’re committing $100,000 to Citizens Energy for its fuel assistance program and I strongly encourage others to help Joe Kennedy in this worthwhile cause.”

“Citizens Bank is proud to support the Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program again this year as it provides critical resources to those who need it most during the cold winter months,” said Julie Connelly, Senior Vice President of Community Reinvestment for Citizens Bank of Massachusetts. “We applaud Citizens Energy for its ongoing dedication to improving the quality of life for needy families in Massachusetts.”

The Oil Heat Program, working with over 400 local heating oil dealers and the statewide network of fuel assistance agencies, provides a once-a-season delivery of 175 gallons of fuel for half the retail price. Households can apply by calling 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-8770563-4645) or by contacting their local community action agency.

The Citizens program helps families who have exhausted their federal fuel assistance allotment as well as those who earn just above the eligibility level. This year, the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is scheduled to deliver close to 5% less in aid than it did last year -- in spite of the fact that heating oil prices are about 40% higher than last winter.

To help Citizens Energy reach more families in need, the Massachusetts Association of Community Action Programs (MASSCAP) has established a tax-deductible fund to receive donations. Those interested in making a contribution can send a check to:

MASSCAP Oil Heat Fund

105 Chauncey Street

Boston, MA 02111

Further support for the Oil Heat Program has come from television and radio stations and billboard companies, which have donated space and airtime to public service announcements promoting the initiative.

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