For many folks, 2021 has been as tough a year as 2020 was. It’s apparent to WEC just through the record number of accounts that are in arrears–even after a second round of state grants to help Vermonters pay utility bills.
“The pandemic has been tremendously difficult in terms of the challenges it brought to bear on people,” said General Manager Louis Porter. Even though he hopes the acute phase of the pandemic is winding down, he said, “those impacts on people remain, and federal assistance, while helpful, doesn’t undo that. I just ask our members to consider those impacts on people whose lives, school, work have been upended, and recognize those impacts will continue on for quite a while.”
There are things we can do, every day, as community members: Practice courtesy. Appreciate essential workers. Shop locally.
And there are practical ways WEC demonstrates concern for community:
- Member Services Representatives work with members with past-due accounts to create long-term budgets that keep the lights on
- Board members oversee Community Fund grantmaking
- Members donate their capital credit refunds to the Community Fund or round up their bills to benefit the WARMTH program
- Staff partner with organizations and agencies to make weatherization and other resources affordable and accessible
- Staff and vendors donate to support holiday programs
Every year, the Co-op sponsors the holidays for a local military family. This program is not supported through the Community Fund, but is a beloved tradition in the WEC office. Staff, Board, and vendors contribute to bring food, gifts, and more to one family. In addition, WEC’s team assembles holiday food boxes for ten or more families.
To learn more, visit veteransinc.org.
WARMTH is Vermont’s emergency home heating assistance program. It’s funded mainly through voluntary contributions from electric utility customers, and operated through local community action agencies. In WEC territory, that’s Capstone and Northeast Kingdom Community Action, or NEKCA.
To donate, initial the Operation Round-Up box on your electric bill to round up each bill to the next dollar and send the change to WARMTH. If you’d like to contribute more each month, write in the amount. If you bill through SmartHub or would rather talk to a friendly Member Services Representative, contact Member Services to arrange your donation: 802-223-5245 or 1-800-932-5245.
WEC’s Community Fund
The money in WEC’s Community Fund comes from members who donate their capital credit refunds. The fund has grown steadily and each year contributes more than $50,000 in grants to small nonprofits in WEC’s service area.
How you can help
If you are interested in local charitable giving this holiday season, WEC’s list of Community Fund grantees is a good resource. Each one makes a difference right here in central Vermont. The full list of 2020 recipients is in the July 2021 issue of Co-op Currents, available online at wec.coop.
If you need help
- Call 211 to find any emergency resource you need: food, mental health, fuel, shelter, and anything else.
- If you need help paying your WEC bill, call Member Services: 802-223-5245 or 1-800-932-5245
- If you are in danger of running out of fuel, call the toll-free Emergency Fuel Assistance number: 1-800-479-6151
- For food, housing, weatherization, and other services, contact your local Community Action Agency: either Capstone (capstonevt.org) or Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA, nekca.org)