Media Advisory
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
July 18, 2007
Contact: Margaret Justus
713-236-0306

MEDIA ADVISORY

Senator Ellis and other community leaders hold news conference to give details of two programs to help Low-income Houstonians with electricity costs during hottest months.

WHO:Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis,
Laura Raymond, Senior Vice President for Texas Business Direct Energy,
Dr. Jonita Wallace, CEO of Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA)
WHAT:Group will hold a news conference with to announce the partial reinstatement of the Texas System Benefit Fund known as the "LITE-UP Texas Program" and Direct Energy's Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program in the Houston area.
WHERE:The Sunnyside Multi-Purpose Center at 4605 Wilmington Houston, Texas
WHEN:Friday, July 20, 2007, 11:00 am
WHY:To spread the word to and help those in need of assistance with paying their utility bills. The 80th Texas Legislature approved the partial reinstatement of the System Benefit Fund. Eligible low-income customers will receive a discount on their electric bills during the months of July, August, September and October this year, and during several months in 2008 and 2009. The discount is funded by the System Benefit Fund through a program called LITE-UP Texas. All retail electric providers are required to provide the discount to customers who currently receive Medicaid, Food Stamps, Medicaid-SSI, Medicaid-TANF, Medicaid-QMB and those customers whose combined family income is below 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Questions regarding the LITE-UP Texas program should be directed Low Income Discount Administrator (LIDA) at 1-800-241-7011.

In addition to the LITE-UP Texas Program news, the news conference will include an announcement regarding Direct Energy 's introduction of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program in the Direct Energy footprint. Direct Energy has committed $150,000 to fund the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program in the Oncor and Centerpoint service territories. Direct Energy's affiliate companies CPL Retail Energy in South Texas and WTU Retail Energy in West Texas have provided assistance to more than 10,000 customers through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program since 2003. Direct Energy is working with with Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA) to provide eligible low-income Direct Energy customers with assistance in paying their electric bills through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program. Customers who currently receive Medicaid, Food Stamps, Medicaid-SSI, Medicaid-TANF, Medicaid-QMB and those customers whose combined family income is below 125 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to receive Neighbor-to-Neighbor assistance. Gulf Coast Community Services Association has been selected as the agency to administer the Neighbor-to-Neighbor funds to qualified customers. For more information on the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program, please call GCCSA at 713-393-4700.

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