Mayor Neil M. O’Leary has announced that Waterbury has received a $195,000 business grant from a new pilot program that will help women and minority-owned businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs.  The pilot program, Project Best (Business Energy Sustainability Team) , is funded by Dominion, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy , and PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group).  The program offers 195 Waterbury small businesses a one-time $1 ,000 grant in the form of electric bill credit.

“Owning and operating a small business is more challenging than ever , ” said Ronald J. Pugliese , Waterbury ’s director of economic development.  “The last few years have been especially hard on the business community , and this is certainly terrific news on a program that is the first of its kind.  Small businesses play an essential role in our community; helping them succeed is good for the owners , their employees , customers , and the city.”

The program also offers an educational component.  Participating businesses are required to attend an energy workshop before they can receive their electric bill credit.  The workshop will teach small business owners how to conserve energy and become more efficient.

Applications will be accepted through March 16 , 2012.  To receive an application and for more information on the program , contact Saranda Belica in the Mayor’s Office at 203-574-6712 , or via e-mail:

The program is administered by Operation Fuel , a non-profit founded in the mid-1970s.  Operation Fuel helps Connecticut residents with energy assistance year round.