EDMONTON, AB – Direct Energy is donating $250,000 over three years to create an emergency fund for people in the Alberta Capital Region who are experiencing utility-related acute financial crises. 

“Unemployment rates are higher in this region than they have been in 25 years and we know that families and individuals are struggling,” said Anne Smith, President and CEO of United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. “Partners like Direct Energy make it possible for United Way to provide support and address these needs in our community.” 

Effective Thursday, people can learn more about the fund by calling the 211 phone line, which refers Albertans to community and social services. 

“Last year alone, 798 people reached out to 211 looking for assistance to pay a utility bill,” said Emma Potter, Acting Manager of Help Lines for 211 in Edmonton. “That number continues to rise in 2017.” 

Emergency grants will be provided to those who are in crisis and at risk of falling into poverty due to utility bills in arrears or a disconnection notice. Funds will be available through agencies in six communities: Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, 

Strathcona County, Parkland County, Leduc (City and County), and St. Albert. 

“We serve almost one million Alberta customers and often hear first-hand about their financial challenges,” said Tanis Kozak, Vice President and General Manager, Canada, Direct Energy. “Through the new Direct Energy Emergency Fund, we are proud to further assist Alberta’s most vulnerable customers with their natural gas and electricity bills and help families avoid or rebuild from a financial crisis.” 

Direct Energy has donated another $250,000 to the United Way of Calgary to address similar needs there. 

About United Way of the Alberta Capital Region

United Way brings community members together to create pathways out of poverty and make the greatest impact possible on the most pressing social challenges in our community. To learn more about United Way and its work with more than 50 community partners, please visit 


Wendy Tynan, Public Affairs, Direct Energy Phone: 403-776-2206