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Dominion Provides $1 Million to Operation Fuel to Help Minority and Women Small Business Owners Reduce Energy Expenses

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RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Dominion, the owner and operator of Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Conn., announced today that it will provide $1 million to Operation Fuel Inc. in Connecticut to provide energy grants and energy conservation training to small businesses owned by minorities or women.

The pilot program, which will be the first of its kind in the nation, is intended to bolster small businesses owned by women and minorities. Dominion’s donation will be used to provide grants of up to $1,000 to help pay about 1,200 eligible business’ electricity bills and to conduct education seminars designed to teach the owners how to conserve energy and lower their bills.

“Operation Fuel’s new program is unique and dynamic,” said Robert M. Blue, Dominion senior vice president-Law, Public Policy & Environment. “Small businesses such as those they will be assisting play a vital role in the communities in which they operate, creating jobs and making many of their purchases locally. Helping the owners succeed is good for them, their customers and their neighbors.”

PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group), parent company of PSEG Power LLC, which owns and operates the Bridgeport Harbor and New Haven Harbor Generating Stations, provided $150,000 for the small business program, bringing the total available to fund the initial pilot program to $1.15 million.

The pilot will be conducted in five urban areas: Hartford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, New London and New Haven. A key point of the pilot is focusing on both job creation and retention in order to help the economy recover.

“The pilot project is going to result in better educated small business owners and better data about the energy needs of minority- and women-owned small businesses,” said Patricia Wrice, executive director of Operation Fuel.

The program will target small businesses, especially state-certified women- and minority-owned businesses that employ fewer than 50 people and have less than $1 million in annual sales.

Speaking at a news conference to announce the program, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said: “It’s been a long, cold winter in Connecticut, and I know this is welcome news to the minority and women small business owners across the state.

“I’d like to thank both Dominion and PSEG for their generous contributions, and I’d like to thank Operation Fuel for implementing this important and innovative program. By helping to defray energy costs for the recipients of these grants, we can help small business owners continue to operate within their local communities. This is a great example of private industry coming out to support public interest. It’s not only a smart business move, but smart public policy, as well.”

Operation Fuel is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency energy assistance to low income individuals and families including the elderly and disabled Connecticut residents. Its mission is to partner with communities, businesses, government, and individuals to ensure that people in need have access to year-round energy assistance. For more information, visit the organization’s Website at www.operationfuel.org.

Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,600 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation’s largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 13 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s Website at www.dom.com.

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