Montgomery County commissioners approved a new utilities relief program Tuesday to help county residents struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The $10 million program split evenly between DP&L and Vectren will allow customers to receive a bill credit for qualifying past due balances. Credits will cover any amount more than 30 days past due for any service billed on or after March 1. The maximum benefit is $10,000 per account. Customers can apply for bill credits on their DP&L bill, Vectren bill, or both, according to the county.
Massive unemployment has had a widespread effect on people’s ability to keep up with bills and peak heating season is just around the corner, said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge.
“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.
Richard Leger, vice president of regional operations for Vectren, said the CARES Act money will directly support affected households.
“This one-time benefit will bring relief to residential customers during a time when it is needed most,” he said.
Lisa Krueger, the U.S. strategic business unit president for DP&L’s parent company, said the program provides a simple way for customers impacted by the pandemic to avoid having service disconnected for nonpayment.
“We encourage those who need assistance to apply so they can continue receiving safe, uninterrupted electric service,” she said.
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.
Anyone who has applied for utility assistance through other local entities are eligible for these grants, provided they still have an amount at least 30 days past due. No applications will be accepted after Nov. 30.
“It’s great that we’re able to do this and help our residents,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. “We know there are people with past balances and this way we can get it cleared and those CARES Act dollars can really help where it’s most needed.”
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.
Montgomery County has additional pandemic relief programs available, including mortgage and rental assistance for individuals and families as well as grants for small businesses, nonprofits, health care institutions, agriculture businesses, daycares and preschools. For more information and how to apply, visit www.mcohiocares.org.