CVPS looks to expand Shareheat program

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(Host) The state’s largest electric utility is reaching out to other corporations to raise money to keep Vermonters warm this winter.

Central Vermont Public Service Corporation wants to expand its Shareheat program to respond to record high heating fuel prices. 

The program matches individual contributions with corporate donations and uses the money to help low income people pay fuel bills.

CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said the need is great this winter, as fuel oil tops $3 a gallon. 

(Costello) "It was kind of scary as we started contacting some of the community action agencies and talking about this season. They were dozens and dozens of people coming in the door every day looking for help."

(Host) The program has been in place for 21 years. This year, CVPS has brought in other corporations as partners. The businesses include the Vermont Country Store – which gave $10-thousand. The Omya Corporation and the Vermont State Employees Credit Union each contributed $7,500. 

Costello says the response from the companies was immediate and overwhelming.

(Costello) "We’ve reached out to just as handful of companies so far. And between just that handful have raised $32,000 in funding which will be added to $60,000 from CV shareholders. We do hope to raise more over the next week or two and increase that matching fund to an even greater extent. The bottom line being, to avoid anybody going cold this winter." 

(Host) Costello says the program works with virtually no overhead or administrative costs. CVPS collects donations from its customers and other individuals and matches the money with the corporate donations. The company then steers the funds directly to community action agencies serving the area where the donations came from.

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