Entergy Corp. received Chartwell Inc.’s Best Practices Award for Serving Low-Income Customers for Entergy’s “exceptional” commitment and innovative approach to helping poverty-stricken customers move toward self-sufficiency.
Entergy representatives received the award during a Chartwell-sponsored conference on methods utilities can use to help low-income customers. Chartwell provides independent information services to the utility and energy industry.
“With full support coming from the top, Entergy has set the standard in programs and services for low-income customers,” said Doris Yon, a Chartwell research analyst.
Entergy’s low-income initiative was started in 1999 by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. Wayne Leonard. He urged employees to get involved in anti-poverty efforts in their communities, where 20 to 30 percent of Entergy customers live at or below the federal poverty level. He argued it was in Entergy’s best interest to help its low-income customers escape a culture of poverty that has bound families for generations. Entergy has spent approximately $40 million to support its low-income customer initiative.
“It’s an honor to have been recognized by Chartwell,” said Patty Riddlebarger, director of corporate social responsibility at Entergy. “Our ultimate goal is to help our customers achieve economic self-sufficiency. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. We can only be as successful as the communities we serve.
“Poverty drains economic resources and robs people of the opportunity to reach their potential. We have a responsibility to our customers, the communities we serve and our shareholders to address the root causes of poverty,” she said.