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Energy equity remains one of our society’s most urgent issues, especially among underserved households. In 2023, Project Hope reported that more than 30 million households in the United States cannot adequately meet their daily energy needs.
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day in 2024, Washington Gas remains passionate about the challenges of energy equity and fairness. Through our robust assistance programs and investments in emerging technologies, we are committed to improving access to safe, reliable and affordable solutions for everyone.
Energy inequity strikes especially hard among our most vulnerable community members. Aside from physical and mental discomfort, research indicates that unheated homes can create multiple health issues, especially for at-risk individuals. News stories report the fires and injuries that can happen when residents resort to unsafe indoor heating methods.
However, the value of an energy-secure household transcends the comfort of warmth. It means light to brighten dark days and the daily pleasures of hot showers, fresh laundry and clean dishes. It supports the joy of meals prepared and shared with family and friends.
Energy equity is about living life, not just enduring it in the hope of better days.
Helping families achieve energy-stable homes is a long-standing call to action for our Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) program. Since 1983, WAFF has helped nearly 100,000 households through $34 million in assistance. WAFF is available regardless of what method a household uses to heat their home, even when other aid may not be available.
Alongside the WAFF initiative, our Energy Assistance programs help local families maintain reliable, uninterrupted energy services. We strive to ensure that our 1.2 million customers have the best options and payment plans to fit their budgets and schedules during times of need.
As we honor the inclusive teachings of Dr. King, the importance of personal and corporate responsibility has never been greater. The 2024 “It Starts With Me” message from the King Center resonates deeply with our core values. You could say it starts with:
MEaningful Conversations. The path to energy equity begins with honest dialogue. Engaging with customers, stakeholders and policymakers aligns our energy strategies with real-world needs. These conversations create a focused path that bridges the gaps between households and the energy they deserve.
MEasuring Impact. What isn’t well measured isn’t well managed. Our dedication to ongoing assessments increases the effectiveness of our programs by identifying what is working well and what isn’t. From tracking households needing assistance to evaluating energy stability markers, solid data leads to positive outcomes for those we serve.
MEntorship. By investing in current and next-generation energy experts, we seek to nurture the future of equity. From student internships to sponsored organizational programs such as DC Infrastructure Academy and Teambuilders Academy, we are committed to professional empowerment. Mentoring promotes knowledge and experience, creating a skilled workforce that is deeply aware of its role in promoting fairness.
MErging Technologies. A famous quote suggests, “Life is best organized as a series of daring ventures from a secure base.” The same is true for advanced, successful energy portfolios. Based on data and research, we pair the security of traditional natural gas with future-forward technologies. Balancing reliability and innovation can help support stable, affordable energy services while new solutions emerge as potential energy options.
MEthane. Renewable natural gas (RNG) claims a significant role within the Washington Gas emerging technologies landscape, and this energy option begins by capturing and processing landfill methane. The capability to produce RNG locally means it tends to be less affected by the geopolitical instabilities and disruptions that can impact other energy sources. Stable energy is especially vital for underserved households and businesses that are often more affected by outages and interruptions.
The Washington Gas commitment to energy equity is dynamic and evolves to meet changing needs. We are proud to have served our vibrant DMV area for over 175 years. Thank you for being our partners in a more equitable future for all.
Do you or someone you know need help with your energy bill? Visit washingtongascares.com or scan the QR code on this page to explore financial assistance and bill payment options.
Brandon Todd serves as Senior Director of Corporate Public Policy for Washington Gas (WGL), leading the government affairs and public policy team responsible for developing and managing public policy positions. He previously served six years on the Council of the District of Columbia, representing Ward 4. Brandon is active across the metropolitan Washington region, serving on both business and philanthropic boards.