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Coronavirus: 2 N.S. companies contribute combined $1M to help people on low incomes

The Nova Scotia Power headquarters is seen in Halifax on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

To help people struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Emera Inc. and its operating company Nova Scotia Power are donating money to two different funds that support people experiencing homelessness or living on a low income.

Emera is contributing $500,000 to the United Way’s Atlantic Compassion Fund, and Nova Scotia Power is donating $500,000 to the Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund.

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“The global COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in extraordinary challenges for Atlantic Canada. Our current focus is on ensuring our ability to continue to deliver the critical energy needs of our customers,” said Emera president and CEO Scott Balfour in a press release.

According to United Way Halifax, the Atlantic Compassion Fund will support people who are being most impacted by the widespread public health measures being implemented across the region, including those who are precariously employed, or are experiencing homelessness, mental illness or food insecurity, or living on a low income.

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The fund is being managed by United Way Halifax, a community-building organization, which focuses on finding solutions for poverty.

In addition, the Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund will help individuals and families who live on low incomes to pay their energy bills.

“We understand our customers are concerned about the future, their jobs and their ability to pay their bills. The last thing we want them to worry about is going without power during this tough time,” said Wayne O’Connor, Nova Scotia Power president and CEO.

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During this time, O’Connor said that N.S. Power is suspending disconnections for nonpayment for at least 90 days, relaxing payment timelines and waiving penalties and fees.

He also noted that they’re working with residential and small business customers to provide flexible payment options.

According to United Way Halifax, the HEAT Fund program is a partnership between Nova Scotia Power, the provincial government and The Salvation Army. Every year it provides emergency assistance for all forms of home heating.

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