Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) will helping customers in need with their winter heating bills as they have provided the Salvation Army with $165,000 for a special assistance program called Gift of Power. STAFF
Photo: WAYNE BAKER/STAFF
Photo: WAYNE BAKER/STAFF

DP&L, Salvation Army partner on Gift of Power to help with heating bills

This is the fifth year for the Gift of Power assistance program, which helps local families struggling to pay their heating bills and who may not be eligible for Ohio Energy Assistance programs.

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DP&L is contributing the funds, administered by the Salvation Army, to support needy families in greater Dayton and in their 24 counties.

Dayton Kroc Center Administrator Maj. Gayle Senak announced the launch of this year’s program during a presentation at the center and shared that she has heard from many who have benefited from the Gift of Power assistance.

Senak explained that since the program’s inception in 2015, DP&L has donated more than $500,000. The assistance has helped more than 2,000 families keep the heat and lights on during the winter.

“Many families today are living from paycheck-to-paycheck,” she said. “So many are just one situation away from financial disaster. That is what we see from people we are interviewing that are seeking assistance. Life can spiral downward.”

One particular story from this past year stuck with Senak. It involved a woman who had retired and came in for help.

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“The first time she came in, her electric had already been turned off, with a balance more than we were able to help out with the Gift of Power,” Senak said, adding that it was hard to tell the woman that she had to come up with money in order to bring the balance down within the parameters of the program to get assistance.

“I found out that her retirement had been cut in half, creating an ongoing financial difficulty,” Senak said. “She was sleeping in a tent in her living room to help keep her warm or as warm as she could be.”

The Salvation Army was able to work to eventually get the woman’s power restored and the Gift of Power program helped make that happen.

“She was able to go home to a warm house,” Senak said.

Vince Parisi, DP&L president and CEO, said he’s pleased that the program has continued to grow and provide assistance to those in need.

“On average, between the months of January and April, nearly 5,000 of our half-million customers face disconnections,” Parisi shared. “Many are eligible for Ohio assistance payment plans; unfortunately there’s still a gap.”

He said that the Gift of Power program has helped many of those find assistance to pay their bills.

During the months of November and December, DP&L customers will have the opportunity to help needy families by completing the special donation envelope in their monthly bill, or they can donate online at dpandl.com/gift.

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