Media Release - March 23, 2020
Halifax – To help meet immediate and emerging needs of communities in Atlantic Canada due to COVID-19, Emera Inc. is contributing $500,000 to the United Way’s Atlantic Compassion Fund and its operating company Nova Scotia Power will donate $500,000 to the Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in extraordinary challenges for Atlantic Canada. Our current focus is on ensuring our ability to continue to deliver the critical energy needs of our customers, as well as the health and safety of our people and our communities. But we also understand the pressures this pandemic is creating for many, and we want to do our part right now to help those who need it most,” said Emera President and CEO Scott Balfour. “These donations to the Atlantic Compassion Fund and the HEAT Fund will provide immediate critical aid to our region.”
The Atlantic Compassion Fund will support people who are being most impacted by the widespread public health measures being implemented across the region, including those who are precariously employed, or are experiencing homelessness, mental illness or food insecurity, or living on a low income. This Atlantic-wide fund is being managed by United Way Halifax in collaboration with 10 other United Ways across the region.
The Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund helps individuals and families who live on low incomes to pay their energy bills. The program is extending the April 15 application deadline indefinitely and waiving the application restriction on applying only every 24 months, meaning customers who received funding in 2019 may also apply in 2020.
“We understand our customers are concerned about the future, their jobs and their ability to pay their bills. The last thing we want them to worry about is going without power during this tough time,” says Wayne O’Connor, Nova Scotia Power President and CEO. “That’s why we are suspending disconnections for nonpayment for at least 90 days, relaxing payment timelines and waiving penalties and fees. We’re working with residential and small business customers to provide flexible options and making this additional donation to the HEAT Fund.”
The HEAT Fund program is a partnership between Nova Scotia Power, the provincial government and The Salvation Army. Every year it provides emergency assistance for all forms of home heating.
“Many people in our community are in crisis right now. The Atlantic Compassion Fund is a way to come together to support those who need it most,” said United Way of Halifax President & CEO Sara Napier. “Emera’s genuine and generous leadership to help will literally be put to use in days. We are so grateful, and we hope this transformational investment inspires others to join in by making donations of their own, and most importantly encourages all of us to believe we will get through this together.”
“We are so grateful for the ongoing generosity of Nova Scotia Power. The HEAT Fund helps thousands of Nova Scotians each year, and now, with this additional contribution, we’ll be able to help even more. Especially those who have been impacted financially due to COVID-19,” said Major Wade Budgell, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army.
As with all community investments made by Emera and its operating companies, this $1 million contribution comes from shareholder investments and not customer rates. For more information about the HEAT Fund, visit www.nspower.ca/heatfund. To learn more about the Atlantic Compassion Fund, go to https://www.unitedwayhalifax.ca/giving/united-by-compassion-fund.html.