September 9, 2010 - 3:16 pm

On Friday, September 03, 2010 the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division staff attended Joint Utility Discount Day in Washington, DC. This event, sponsored by District Department of the Environment (formerly DC Energy Office) is designed to provide information on utility discounts and other forms of public assistance to qualifying residents of the District. The FCC was there to promote Lifeline & Link Up Awareness Week September 13-19, 2010. Lifeline & Link Up are programs that provide discounts to low income individuals for basic telephone installation and service.

Lifeline involves discounts on the monthly charges, and Link Up involves a discount on the cost of installation of telephone service. The discount is available for the primary residential services telephone and/or a wireless phone. Many consumers are unaware that these programs exist. Our goal is to work with social assistance organizations such as Office of the People's Counsel, and others, to ensure that more consumers become aware of the programs and receive information on how to apply.

Participating in an event such as Joint Utility Discount Day, with over 5,000 eligible consumers in attendance, was important. Events such as these are key in ensuring that consumers in the Washington, DC area develop an awareness of discounts offered through Lifeline & Link Up.

We are currently working with officials from Montgomery County and Prince George's County, Maryland as well as West Virginia, and Fairfax County, Virginia to hold similar events within the next month. And we plan to continue our outreach efforts beyond the DC Metropolitan area with future plans to make this a nationwide effort.

Brenda K. Pennington of the DC Office of People's Council, a key partner of our Lifeline Link-Up Education efforts, talks about the Joint Utility Discount Day.