AWARD-WINNING VOLUNTEER CITIZEN OF THE YEAR PROGRAM COMES TO CENTRAL ILLINOIS Direct Energy and the Journal Star join hands to pay tribute to local volunteers

Peoria, IL (April 15th, 2013) – Direct Energy and the Journal Star are proud to announce the launch of the first ever Central Illinois Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program. Nominations are now being accepted and will close on Sunday, May 26th, 2013.

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 Direct Energy's vision to harness its energy expertise to make a positive difference in people's lives, it encourages employees to volunteer their time and energy to causes or organizations in their local communities. Winner of the American Business Awards' Silver Stevie®, 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. Four years ago, Direct Energy expanded its Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program to the United States and now has programs in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Chicago and Albany. Now, Direct Energy is bringing the renowned Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program to Central Illinois with a partnership with the Journal Star.

"Direct Energy is thrilled about its first Central Illinois Volunteer Citizen of the Year award with the help of the Journal Star," said Jason Wasserman, commercial director for Direct Energy. "Everyone has that one person in their lives that does so much for others. We encourage the Central Illinois community to take the time nominate someone to become the first winner."

The award itself consists of:

The Volunteer Citizen of the Year award is open to all residents of communities in Central Illinois. 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.

"It is always important to recognize those that make our community a better place to live and by partnering with Direct Energy for the Central Illinois Volunteer Citizen of the Year award, we are doing just that. It is our hope that our readers will participate by nominating leaders from the community who make a difference. When considering nominees, volunteers who are 'unsung heroes' with a significant impact are just as deserving of such an award as are the 'high profile' volunteers," said Ken Mauser, publisher of the Journal Star.

Nominations must be submitted by Sunday, May 26th, 2013 at 11:59 pm. A selection committee from Direct Energy and the Journal Star will review the submissions, and the winner will be announced in June. Complete rules, the official nomination form and all other information are available online at http://www.directenergy.com/vcoy-CentralIL.

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 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. For more information, please visit www.directenergy.com

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About the Journal Star

The Journal Star, founded 158 years ago, is the largest daily newspaper in downstate Illinois delivering news and information to readers in 22 counties and connecting advertisers with their customers. For more information, visit www.pjstar.com.

For further information, please contact:
Julie Hendry
Direct Energy
Julie.Hendry@directenergy.com
412.925.6773