Coronavirus: Deadline for utility bill assistance is Friday

DP&L linemen repair electrical lines near Kuntz Road in Old North Dayton’s industrial park in June 2019. FILE
DP&L linemen repair electrical lines near Kuntz Road in Old North Dayton’s industrial park in June 2019. FILE

Friday is the last day Montgomery County residents financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can sign up for help paying their electric and gas bills through a county CARES Act program.

Customers can apply for bill credits on their electric bill, gas bill, or both. The maximum benefit is $10,000 per account, according to the county.

As of last week, nearly 5,000 DP&L customers had received about $2.1 million in total relief and roughly 3,000 Vectren customers had received just over $500,000 in bill credits, according to the county’s Office of CARES Act.

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“We’re seeing a huge response to this program, which shows the tremendous need in our area,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge.

Requirements for the bill credits include:

  • Must be a residential customer of DP&L and/or Vectren (business accounts are not eligible).
  • Applicant must reside in Montgomery County.
  • The property’s service address must be in Montgomery County.
  • Have a balance at least 30 days past due with either or both utility companies.
  • Credits will only cover charges billed on or after March 1, 2020.
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The utility assistance program is the only county CARES Act relief program that remains open. With $92.8 million in federal funding nearly exhausted, the county shut down the application process for other programs, including those for rent and mortgage assistance as well as for nonprofits, farmers, small businesses and healthcare and daycare providers.

Massive unemployment caused by the pandemic jeopardized people’s ability to pay their utility bills and peak heating season is just around the corner, Dodge said.

“Now that the weather’s turning cooler, it’s going to be a godsend to a lot of the vulnerable population to be able to keep their heat and electricity to continue to stay on,” she said.

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County commissioners approved the utilities assistance program Oct. 20, leaving people less than four weeks to apply.

Despite the short timeframe, Dodge said the utility companies have credited thousand of residents' accounts.

“But that time period is ending soon,” she said. “If anyone has a balance more than 30 days past due, please make sure to get your application in as soon as you can.”

More information on the program and a link to the online application are available at www.mcohiocares.org. Customers can also text the word “Power” to 937-496-7969 to receive a link to the application on a mobile phone.

Each Monday, the county sends applicant account information to the utility companies. By Wednesday, the utilities provide the county a list that includes ineligible accounts. Anyone who is denied should receive an email the following Thursday to notify them. Anyone approved will see the amount credited on their bill(s), according to the county.

Anyone who applies should double check all their information, including account number(s) and email address. Due to the short timeframe, if an applicant thinks they may have applied with the wrong information, the county recommends resubmitting another application without waiting for a denial email.

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