Operation Fuel, Inc.

Power for Good

Hartford, CT   |  http://www.operationfuel.org

Mission

Operation Fuel ensures equitable access to energy for all by providing year-round energy and utility assistance, promoting energy independence, and advocating for affordable energy.

Ruling year info

1989

Executive Director

Mrs. Brenda M. Watson

Main address

75 Charter Oak Avenue Suite 2-240

Hartford, CT 06106 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

06-1253091

NTEE code info

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Connecticut's energy costs are among the highest in the nation. About 400,000 families struggle to afford their energy expenses. There is an energy affordability gap in which households with less income actually spend more of their income on utility bills. Low- to moderate-income populations spend a larger portion of their income on home energy, in some cases anywhere between 16-24% compared to higher-income households who spend about 3-4%. For low- and moderate-income households, a mismatch between energy bills and the resources needed to pay them can have devastating consequences. Energy insecure households are more likely to make trade-offs with competing expenses, such as food and housing, and to experience hunger and health problems as a result. Operation Fuel believes that no household should go without basic needs due to the high cost of energy. Since 1977, our emergency assistance program has helped thousands of people living in Connecticut avoid making such sacrifices.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Emergency Energy Assistance

Founded in 1977, Operation Fuel is the country’s oldest fuel fund, serving as a model across the United States. Operation Fuel is the primary source of assistance for low to moderate income households in Connecticut that have exhausted other options for keeping their homes warm and their lights on. Our mission statement is to ensure equitable access to energy for all by providing year-round energy assistance, promoting energy independence, and advocating for affordable energy.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Emergency Energy Assistance

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of individuals impacted by our emergency energy assistance grants.

Number of families served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Emergency Energy Assistance

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of low- and moderate-income household that we provided emergency energy assistance. In 2018, Operation Fuel received additional dollars from fines assessed to utility companies.

Total amount of emergency energy assistance grants made

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Emergency Energy Assistance

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total amount of dollars in emergency energy assistance grants distributed

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Operation Fuel’s mission is to ensure equitable access to energy for all by providing year-round energy and utility assistance, promoting energy independence, and advocating for affordable energy. Our main goal is to provide energy assistance for low- to moderate-income households. As the state's sole fuel fund, our primary objective is to provide energy grants throughout the year, ensuring struggling families can heat their homes and keep the lights on.

These are our priorities:

1) Provide emergency energy assistance to low- and moderate-income families so they can heat their homes in the winter.

2) Keep the lights on. We provide grants for electric bills even when electricity is not the primary energy source for heating the home, unlike other government programs.

3) Assist families from having to make trade-offs with other basic necessities like food so they won’t have to go hungry because they cannot afford their utility bills.

4) Safeguard families from homelessness. With our support, families have more money for rent and also don’t risk being evicted because of a utility shut-off.

5) Keep families together. Not having working utilities is considered child neglect, and children can be removed from the home.

6) Preserve family safety. Sometimes families use hazardous methods to stay warm such as gas from an oven.

7) Keep families healthy. Families sometimes get sick from being exposed to cold temperatures, and some forgo important medications so they can pay their utility bills, also creating health problems.

Operation Fuel provides emergency energy assistance throughout the year for low- and moderate-income residents living in Connecticut. To provide energy grants throughout the state, Operation Fuel uses a network of community partners that serve as local fuel banks which are in direct contact with local struggling families. For example, some residents can go to their local town’s social services department or local community-based organizations to fill out an application. Staff at the fuel bank site help determine an applicant’s income eligibility, assist with the application, and allocate funds that Operation Fuel raises for emergency energy assistance. Operation Fuel oversees the process and approves applications through a centralized, web-based system. Operation Fuel then makes grants which range from $250-500 to struggling families; these grants are paid directly to utility vendors. Our network partners facilitate oil deliveries, stop utility shut-offs, arrange for service reconnection, and negotiate with energy vendors to enable clients to work out a reasonable payment schedule based on their budget constraints. Operation Fuel provides technical assistance and funds to fuel banks, and, through oversight, ensures the fiscal and program integrity of low-income energy assistance distribution in Connecticut. All applicants receiving support from Operation Fuel’s emergency energy assistance program meet income eligibility requirements and one or more of the following criteria:

• Received a utility shutoff notice
• Are at risk for receiving a shutoff notice
• Have no utility service
• Require a deliverable fuel to maintain/restore heat
• Need assistance making a required payment to maintain an arrangement with their utility vendor

Operation Fuel is now a year-round program accepting applications every season as funding permits. Operation Fuel is also the only source of support for Connecticut residents who are ineligible for public assistance or who need help with electric bills when their main source of heat is oil or gas. Some people eligible for federal funding to pay for heat during the cold weather months don’t receive assistance for their electric bills. In these cases, government assistance may not meet its goal of helping people heat their homes because, without electricity, families cannot run a water pump, heat hot water, or start a furnace. Operation Fuel assists with all types of energy needed to heat, cool, or light a home throughout the year, not just the winter. Electricity during the summer months is important beyond cooling a home and comfort. Some people with medical conditions need air conditioning, the ability to store their medications at refrigerated temperatures, and operate medical devices. Electricity is vital to store perishable foods, run appliances including stoves which are necessary for cooking, and to operate water pumps needed for laundry and basic hygiene such as hand washing.

Operation Fuel is the country’s oldest fuel fund, serving as a model across the United States. It was founded in 1977, after a worldwide oil embargo caused an unprecedented escalation in the price of home heating. To address the crisis in Connecticut, a collaboration among religious communities, industry leaders, and Governor Ella Grasso created Operation Fuel, intended to provide temporary relief for residents who fell through the gaps of government assistance programs. Operation Fuel raised and distributed funds to struggling households. Though the oil embargo is long over, energy affordability is still a crisis for too many Connecticut residents. Operation Fuel remains the primary source of assistance for low- to moderate-income households that have exhausted other options for keeping their homes warm and their lights on. Our mission statement is to ensure equitable access to energy for all by providing year-round energy and utility assistance, promoting energy independence, and advocating for affordable energy. Operation Fuel’s primary goal is to provide emergency energy assistance to low- and moderate-income families.

Operation Fuel’s main program is emergency energy assistance for low- and moderate-income families reaching every town and city in Connecticut. Last fiscal year, Operation Fuel distributed $2,361,823 in emergency energy assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families across Connecticut. Our support assisted over 5,464 struggling households. In addition to assisting with paying gas, electricity, and oil bills, we are now also helping families with the cost of their water bill. In 2017, Operation Fuel created a water assistance program, in partnership with the MDC (Metropolitan District), to help consumers with their water utility costs. Last fiscal year, we distributed an additional $63,073 in water assistance to 171 households with the support of MDC and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. This year, we created a partnership with Aquarion Water Company and Connecticut Water to assist low-income consumers with their water bills and can help more families. In 2015, the Home System Repair and Replacement Program was launched to help low-income consumers in need of boiler, furnace, and water heater repairs. In 2013, we developed the Homelessness Intervention and Prevention Program (HIPP), which assists homeless families and individuals and those threatened by homelessness to pay for their energy costs. The program has since supported more than 300 households.

We also advocate for the energy needs of low- and moderate-income families through national and statewide networks. Operation Fuel is committed to finding long-term solutions to the problem of energy affordability. We believe that instituting a discounted utility rate for low-income households, including people on fixed incomes, is one such solution. Connecticut is the only state in the Northeast without such a rate.

We are also launching an online public portal for clients to complete their applications for emergency energy assistance directly to Operation Fuel in addition to applying through our fuel banks. This will make possible for anyone with access to a computer or a smartphone to complete an application for assistance without having to go to a fuel bank making it easier for those who have child care, work schedule or transportation issues. Also, we are refreshing our website to make it simpler for users to get help and give help.

Financials

Operation Fuel, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Operation Fuel, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 4/30/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Allan Smith

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices NE Properties


Board co-chair

Ms. Megan Brown

Thames Valley Council for Community Action

Daniel Canavan

AVANGRID, Inc.

Melissa Davis-Hussain

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Alexandrea Isaac

Starion Energy

Nicolas Neeley

Retired, CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

Denise Rhone

CWEALF

Richard Schauster

Retired, Empire Industries

Lorenzo Wyatt

Home Comfort Practice

Rauchell Beckford-Anderson

Rose Kallor, LLP

Amy McLean

Acadia Center

Lisa Vallera

Eversource Energy

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 04/30/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.