AWARD-WINNING VOLUNTEER CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD COMES TO COLUMBUS Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News join forces to honor local volunteers

Columbus, OH (9/6/2012) – Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News are proud to announce the launch of the first ever Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program, with the help of HandsOn Central Ohio. Nominations are now being accepted and will close Thursday, October 18th, 2012.

"We couldn't be happier to be working with ThisWeek Community News to bring this honorable award to yet another Ohio city," said Cory Byzewski, Vice President and General Manager for Direct Energy. "ThisWeek Community News reaches the heart of Columbus' community leaders and we know that Ohio is full of exceptional volunteers. I encourage everyone to take some time and nominate someone to help us in search of the first ever Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year."

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award program is designed to recognize the significant efforts of individuals whose contributions make their communities a better place to live. As an extension of an existing Direct Energy program that encourages employees to volunteer their time and energy to causes or organizations in their local communities, the Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award honors those individuals outside of the company who do just that.

First introduced in Alberta, Canada in 2005, the Volunteer Citizen of the Year award has been honoring volunteerism for eight successful years. Direct Energy expanded its Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award program to the United States in Cleveland two years ago and in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg this past year. Currently, there are two Volunteer Citizen of the Year award programs in succession in Cleveland and Dayton. Now, for the first time, Direct Energy is bringing the Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program to Columbus with a partnership with ThisWeek Community News and with support from HandsOn Central Ohio.

The award itself consists of:

"We want to give back to the unsung heroes that our make our city a great place so we are thrilled to partner with Direct Energy on an initiative that helps us do so. It is our hope that our readers will participate by nominating somebody in their life that truly exemplifies selflessness," said Roy Biondi, Publisher of ThisWeek Community News.

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award is open to all residents of communities in ThisWeek Community News' coverage area. Individuals can either nominate themselves or be nominated by another individual or group. Nominations should be no longer than 750 words and must detail the specific contributions the individual or group has made to improve the community through volunteer service. The nomination must also profile the designated organization and how it would use the $5,000 donation from Direct Energy.

"When we heard about such an admirable program being introduced in Columbus, we just knew we had to get involved. Programs like the Volunteer Citizen of the Year award support the individuals in Columbus that we work for and champion for each and every day." said Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher, CEO and President for HandsOn Central Ohio.

Nominations must be submitted by Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 11:59 pm. A selection committee from Direct Energy, ThisWeek Community News and HandsOn Central Ohio will review the submissions, and the winner will be announced in ThisWeek Community News. Complete rules, the official nomination form and all other information are available online at

About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 45 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada.

About ThisWeek Community News
ThisWeek Community News is comprised of 25 weekly editions spanning Columbus and the surrounding areas of Delaware, Union and Licking Counties. Award-winning journalists report in-depth news on the hyper-local level: government and civic organizations, education and high school sports, business and lifestyle features.

About HandsOn Central Ohio
HandsOn Central Ohio inspires, equips and mobilizes people to create meaningful change in their lives and in their community. As the central Ohio affiliate of the HandsOn Network - the largest volunteer network in the nation with more than 250 action centers in 16 countries - HandsOn Central Ohio connects individuals and organizations with civic engagement opportunities. HandsOn Central Ohio also empowers people in need to make change in their lives by connecting them with critical community resources. For more information and to learn about volunteer opportunities, please visit

For additional information, contact:

Julie Hendry
Direct Energy

Direct Energy® is a subsidiary of Centrica plc. All rights reserved. Centrica was created following the demerger of British Gas plc in 1997 and is now a leading supplier of energy and related services. To read more about Centrica plc please visit