Housing and Community Development Department

Press Release

Mayor Parker Partners With Reliant Energy To Air Condition Hot Houston Homes

August 6, 2011 -- Mayor Annise Parker, in partnership with Reliant Energy and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), today presented the first of 200 air conditioners that will be available to Houston residents in need of reprieve from this summer’s record-high temperatures.

The first 100 window unit air conditioners were obtained by the City through special revenue funds dedicated to emergent circumstances.¬† Reliant Energy will match the City’s commitment with another 100 portable window units. ¬†Installation is being donated by The Carpenters Union.

“Houston summers are notorious and it is the right of every person living in Houston to have an air conditioner,” said Mayor Parker. “Thanks to the collective efforts of Reliant Energy and The Carpenters Union, we are able to give this life-saving tool to community members who are in dire need.”

“The summer heat can be brutal on seniors and those who require special assistance,” said Karen Jones, Reliant Energy Chief Marketing Officer. “We are happy to join the Mayor in this effort to provide a way for Houstonians to stay cool. Our donation is one example of how we support residents during the hot summer months through our Beat the Heat centers, payment assistance programs and energy savings solutions.”

Recipients will have to meet the following initial criteria:

Those who meet these criteria are urged to call the United Way Helpline 2-1-1 to be enrolled. Callers will be screened to meet eligibility requirements. Because of the extreme need and limited number of air conditioners available, this program will conclude when 200 eligible recipients are identified.

The air conditioning units will be purchased at a bid price of $129.

Reliant is also working with the Citizens’ Assistance office to provide free home energy monitors to low-income customers with smart meters. The monitor - a wireless in-home display that communicates near real-time information, including current electricity usage and cost, comparison of daily usage and weekly usage data - will help customers better understand how they are using electricity and give them more control over their energy use and monthly bill. Customers who qualify can request a free monitor by calling 877-338-7206 or visiting www.reliant.com/freemonitor. Spanish speakers can visit www.reliant.com/monitorgratis.

Mayor Parker thanked organizations that have participated in this effort, including: Reliant Energy, The United Way, The Carpenters' Union, Latino Learning Center, Neighborhood Centers, Inc., S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, City of Houston Health & Human Services, City of Houston Housing & Community Development and the Office of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.