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ALCOSAN Board Approves Customer Assistance Program

October 28, 2016 -- The Board of Directors of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority on Thursday, October 27, awarded a contract to Dollar Energy Fund Inc. to administer a customer assistance program that will help low-income families and assure they have adequate wastewater treatment for their homes. ALCOSAN is expecting to launch the program in January.

ALCOSAN Chair John Weinstein, who created a subcommittee of the board to develop the program, said, “Our goal is to make sure that low-income people in Allegheny County are protected throughout the course of this mandated project, and we have engaged in an inclusive process to make sure this is done right.”

ALCOSAN is in talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice to update the region’s Clean Water Plan and reduce the price tag for this important investment in infrastructure. The authority recognizes the costs associated with the improvement plans, and the comprehensive customer assistance program will aid people whose wastewater is treated by ALCOSAN and who qualify based on income.

Subcommittee chair Gregory Jones, a member of the ALCOSAN board, said “We are proud to create a program that benefits as many people as possible and provides much-needed cost relief to our neighbors who are most in need. I want to thank the advocacy groups for their support throughout the process. We are also very grateful to the municipal officials, community leaders and expert billing agencies as well as other utilities that serve low-income customers. They helped us learn best practices and develop a program that will assist residents without creating administrative challenges for the 83 municipalities in the ALCOSAN service area.”

Dollar Energy Fund Inc. is a leader in ensuring that appropriate aid is available to the community. Since its founding in 1983, it has grown to be one of the largest and most successful such funds in the nation, helping its partners to raise and distribute more than $131 million in utility assistance to more than 470,000 households. It currently manages customer assistance programs for utility companies in Pennsylvania including Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania American Water, Peoples Natural Gas and FirstEnergy/West Penn Power.

Prior to Thursday’s action, representatives from the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network and the Clean Rivers Campaign praised the establishment of the customer assistance program as a great step forward.

ALCOSAN is the clean water agency for most of Allegheny County and one of the region’s premier environmental and public health organizations, treating wastewater for 83 Allegheny County communities, including the City of Pittsburgh. The authority, which is Green by Mission and Green by Choice, enhances the community’s quality of life and safety by working to protect drinking water, rivers and streams, and making the Pittsburgh region a great place to live, work and play.

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