Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Archive for December 5th, 2009

Dec 05 2009

In Michigan, a 93-year-old man freezes to death: It cannot happen here!

In January 2009, a 93-year-old Michigan man died as a result of freezing indoors just after the local power company restricted his use of electricity because of unpaid bills. As we approach incredible cold weather, our office monitors what occurs in other cities to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Our Energy and Technology Committee has taken steps to make sure this does not happen here. Recognizing the challenges our lower income residents have, we required the utility to exert stronger advocacy efforts to generate volunteerism in our electric bill assistance program and this resulted in approximately $258,000 in donations. Based on these efforts, I am proud to report that we have achieved a 17 percent increase in donations from 2008. In 2010, the ETC Committee will approve legislation to accept and allocate almost $800,000 from an Enron settlement to be available for low-income energy assistance. In Seattle, we care about our neighbors and we will continue to take measures to make sure the Michigan tragedy does not happen here.

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People must be kept warm!

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