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Codey Fuels Home Energy Program With $2.2 Million In Assistance

Trenton, NJ — December 2005 — As the thermometer begins a descent to the coldest temperatures of the season, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey announced today that New Jersey will contribute more than $2.2 million in FY 2005 to help families in need pay their gas and electric utility bills.

The State Treasury's Division of Taxation this week forwarded $2.24 million from a special utility trust fund, dedicated for temporary heating assistance, to NJ SHARES, a non-profit corporation designated by the Board of Public Utilities to directly provide the assistance to qualified applicants. The $2.2 million State commitment is the second highest amount authorized since the trust fund was established in FY 2000.

"One of government's most important functions is to help those in need. This winter New Jersey is helping make sure struggling seniors, families and disabled citizens are able to pay their utility bills. A little cold cash will go a long way toward keeping their homes warm," Acting Governor Codey said.

Jim Dieterle, AARP New Jersey State Director stated: "On behalf of our over 1.3 million members in New Jersey, AARP wants to commend Acting Governor Codey and Treasurer McCormac for their quick release of the utility escheat funding to New Jersey SHARES. Each Year New Jersey SHARES runs out of its annual escheat funding, usually by the beginning of the summer months, and thus help for the often-forgotten middle income population dries up. This new round of escheat funding means help is once again available to New Jersey families who won't qualify for government assistance and yet will still need help in paying their past due electric and gas utility bills."

Treasurer John E. McCormac noted that NJ SHARES receives 75 percent of the special fund's balance in the fiscal year. The remaining 25 percent is kept in reserve to pay out property claims. "The State's contribution is further leveraged by what NJ SHARES raises through tax deductible donations from the public and contributions from utility companies," McCormac said.

Further information on the NJ SHARES program and utility assistance eligibility can be found by visiting the NJ SHARES web site, at www.njshares.org.


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