The Entergy Charitable Foundation has established the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund in an effort to “help working families experiencing financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The health and safety of our customers, employees and communities is Entergy’s top priority,” said Leo Denault, chairman and CEO of Entergy Corporation. “For more than 100 years, Entergy has never wavered in our commitment to supporting our customers and the communities we serve. This pandemic is no different. During this challenging time, we are helping lessen the impact of this crisis on the most vulnerable in our communities. I strongly encourage our business partners to join us in this effort.”
Entergy noted the most highly impacted people are ALICE households (low-wage working families) and low-income elderly and disabled customers, which make up approximately 40-50 percent of its customer base.
“We know from experience that working families and low-income elderly and disabled customers are hardest hit during times of crisis,” said Patty Riddlebarger, vice president of Entergy’s corporate social responsibility. “We are working quickly to make funds available to community partners that serve vulnerable households to lessen the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and ensure that families have the resources they need to get by during this time of uncertainty.”
Entergy shareholders are committing $700,000 to the Fund to help qualifying customers with basic needs such as food and nutrition, rent and mortgage assistance, and other critical needs until financial situations become more stable, the company said.
Grants from the fund will go to the United Way and other nonprofits in Entergy’s service area that are providing services to impacted households.
Company shareholders will also match employee contributions to the COVID-19 relief efforts of local United Way organizations up to $100,000 to maximize impact, Entergy said.
Entergy also listed additional steps being taken to support and protect customers during the crisis:
With support from our regulators, we are temporarily suspending customer disconnects as we continue to monitor the situation.
We are working with our network of community advocates to request a funding increase of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help alleviate
financial hardships caused by COVID-19 on vulnerable households.
We are developing bill payment solutions and tools to help customers pay their accumulated balances once the disconnect moratorium is lifted
“Already in place to support vulnerable customers is Entergy’s The Power to Care program, which provides emergency bill payment assistance to seniors and disabled individuals,” Entergy said. “To mark the 20th anniversary of Entergy’s low-income customer initiative, the limit of shareholders’ dollar for dollar match of customer donations was increased from $500,000 to $1 million per year. Shareholders continue to match employee donations dollar for dollar with no limit.”
More information on Entergy’s COVID-19 response can be found here.