NEW ORLEANS, Jan 09, 2008 — News of Entergy Corporation earning a national award for helping low-income people didn't surprise Marion Zachary of the Scotlandville Community Development Corporation.
"I've known for years how much work Entergy puts into its programs to help low-income residents," Zachary said. "If it wasn't for our partnership with the Louisiana Housing Community Development Corporation and Entergy's financial support, we wouldn't be able to continue building affordable housing and trying to revitalize north Baton Rouge neighborhoods in post-Katrina Louisiana."
Entergy received the Edison Electric Institute's Advocacy Excellence Award on Wednesday for its Low-Income Initiatives, a variety of programs aimed at helping the 20 to 30 percent of Entergy customers living in poverty across its four-state utility service territory.
"Entergy continues to demonstrate leadership in developing effective advocacy programs that lead to success in promoting state and local policies beneficial to its customers and the industry," EEI President Thomas Kuhn said. "I want to congratulate everyone at Entergy for winning this year's EEI Advocacy Excellence Award."
Entergy's initiatives include everything from sponsoring individual development account programs that help low-income workers build financial assets to advocating at all levels of government for funding to assist the elderly and the disabled pay energy costs.
One of the primary ways Entergy supports affordable housing comes through its partnership with the Louisiana Housing Community Development Corporation. Together, they have created a $1.4 million revolving loan fund that makes it possible for groups like Zachary's Scotlandville Community Development Corporation to build affordable housing. All told, the loan fund has helped build 55 homes and 250 multi-family residences over the last four years.
Entergy Chairman and CEO J. Wayne Leonard said, "It is our obligation as a regulated utility to strengthen the economies of the communities we serve.
"It is our passion to improve the lives of the real people who make up these communities that still suffer from historical injustices and a national indifference or ignorance to the unconscionable conditions and lack of opportunities that have become endemic to many parts of the mid South.
"These are our customers and if we don't stand by them when they need us, then we're not deserving of the loyalty our employees have demonstrated when they have stood by the company during the good times and the tough times," Leonard said.
"This is not a program or a process with Entergy. It's how we do business and how we view our place in the world. We are not naive enough to think that even in our own lifetime we can solve all of the economic or social issues by ourselves and with our many selfless community partners.
"But we firmly believe we do make a difference every day, and we will continue to do our part and to raise the public conscience that it doesn't have to be this way. We can do something about it, now," Leonard said.
It is the third Advocacy Excellence Award for Entergy. The company received the awards in 2005 and in 2007.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.6 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 14,500 employees.
Entergy's online address is http://www.entergy.com