New York, November 17, 2006–CITGO Petroleum Corporation, in partnership with Citizens Energy Corporation, made its first delivery of discount heating oil of the 2006-2007 winter season here today. The CITGOVenezuela heating oil program is committed to delivering more than 25 million gallons of fuel, at a 40 percent discount, to more than 100,000 needy households in New York City. This is the second year for the initiative.
The program will deliver fuel to eligible families throughout the five boroughs. The initiative will also devote 5 percent of the delivery volume free of charge to homeless shelters during the heating season. The initial delivery was made to a 60-unit Bronx apartment building, whose low-income tenants will receive rent rebates as a result of the discount delivery of 200 gallons per unit.
“We are more than just an oil company. We are neighbors and friends who care for those in need,” said CITGO President and CEO Félix Rodríguez. “This is a people-to-people program that comes from the heart of Venezuela to the homes of American families who just can’t pay their energy bills.”
Nationally, the program is targeting more than 100 million gallons to more than 400,000 households in 16 states, more than doubling the commitment made last year. The expansion of the program came in response to a request by last year’s beneficiaries when they met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during a visit to Venezuela earlier this year.
CITGO, owned by Petróleos de Venezuela, the Venezuelan national oil company, has designated Citizens Energy Corporation, a Boston-based non-profit, to run the household delivery program.
Citizens Energy, formed by former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II during the oil price shocks of the late 1970s, has provided discounted heating oil to the poor and elderly for more than 25 years.
“We approached every major oil company and every OPEC nation last year to ask that a small slice of their record profits go to help the poor,” said Kennedy. “Only one oil company – CITGO – and only one nation – Venezuela – stepped up to the plate to offer a helping hand.”
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez noted that “In Venezuela, we view our petroleum reserves not simply as a commodity but as a treasure to use to help others. Our assistance to the poor of the United States is part of a broad strategy to help those in need not only in Venezuela but throughout the hemisphere, under a spirit of solidarity promoted by President Chávez.”
Families interested in receiving the discount oil can call Citizens Energy Corporation at 1-877- JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645) for an application. Once approved, the household receives an authorization letter and calls its heating oil dealer to arrange a delivery of up to 200 gallons of heating oil at 40 percent off the retail price.
In New York City, Citizens Energy is conducting an outreach with local partners to apartment buildings and co-ops with low-income tenants to arrange deliveries.
The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program is also operating in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Greater Philadelphia, Greater Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. CITGO is also providing discount oil directly to 163 Native American tribes in the states of Alaska, Maine, Minnesota and New York.