Monday June 15, 4:17 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

New Jersey Energy Advocate Michael Swayze Wins National Award

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 15, 1998--The National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) announced today that Michael Swayze of Montclair, New Jersey, will receive its highest national honor, the Sister Pat Kelley Achievement Award. The Kelley Award recognizes Swayze's multi-year campaign to organize a New Jersey statewide fund to assist low-income households pay their energy bills. The fund, called NJ SHARES, began operation in New Jersey in March 1998 with a $1 million startup grant. It is a cooperative program of New Jersey social service organizations, utilities, advocacy groups and government units that will serve New Jersey households needing help to pay fuel bills. In 1997 about 146,000 New Jersey households lost energy service because of past-due bills, according to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

``What began as Mike's dream is now a reality that will prevent all sorts of illness and even death from excess heat and cold'', said NFFN Chair Caroline Myers who is executive director of Crisis Assistance Ministry In Charlotte, North Carolina. ``Margaret Mead pointed out that the only thing that has ever changed the world is a small group of people at work,'' she continued. ``As Chair of New Jersey's Low Income Energy Network, Mike kept organizing groups of people until a state-wide response to urgent human needs emerged. This achievement resonates with that of the late Sister Pat Kelley of St. Louis, a fuel fund pioneer in the 1980's and one of NFFN's founders.''

``Michael Swayze was volunteer chair of the Low-Income Energy Network throughout NJ SHARES' gestation, and we are delighted to bring him to New Orleans for the Award'', added Judy Lord of Detroit Edison who chaired the NFFN committee overseeing this year's award. Past Kelley Awardees are U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy, II, founder of Citizens Energy Corporation; Victorine Q. Adams and Janet Parrish who founded fuel funds in Baltimore and Philadelphia, Respectively; consumer activist Charles Hill; and utility executives John Moten (Laclede Gas in St. Louis), Henry C. Alting (MichCon) and Michael Hoy (Delmarva Power and Light).

The National Fuel Funds Network has 230 members, including private fuel funds, human service organizations, state, Tribal and local government energy assistance units and electric and gas utilities. The Network is holding its 14th Annual Conference at New Orleans Fairmont Hotel June 21-22. Mr. Swayze will be available for interviews at the Fairmont Hotel on June 21 and 22.


Contact:
     George Coling, 202/824-0660

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