On a recent edition of 'Let's Talk," Jesse Stewart interviewed Margaret DiMouro who represents the Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund and Berkshire Gas. In the interview we learned that the Good Neighbor Energy Fund (established in 1985) provides assistance to Massachusetts residents in temporary financial crisis who cannot pay their energy bills and do not qualify for federal or state funds. In other words, there are strict income guidelines which means there is a segment of the population that goes under served due to the fact that they make just a little too much money to get assistance and yet they really struggle to meet their expenses to heat their home. This program helps the population that has a gross income between 60 and 80 percent of the state medium income level.

Donations to the Good Neighbor Energy Fund are largely received from the general public. Participating companies recognize their customers' contributions with various giving programs.

To date the Good Neighbor Energy Fund as raised approximately $21,000,000 in assistance and has assisted approximately 87,250 families since the program was established in 1985.

The Good Neighbor Energy Fund is expecting to receive assistance requests for over 2,000 households throughout the state of Massachusetts this year. Last year the Good Neighbor Energy Fund assisted more than 1,200 households to help pay electric, gas, or oil bills.

Those interested in making a donation to the Good Neighbor Energy Fund can donate online at www.magoodneighbor.org. Also, donations can be placed in "Good Neighbor Energy Fund" envelopes found in customers' energy bills.

To request assistance, please contact 800-262-1320 (serving area code 413) or 1-800-334-3047 (serving area codes 508, 617, 781, 978, and 351).

(Good Neighbor Energy Fund graphic logo used by permission)