Coronavirus: Over 16K in Montgomery County get help with utility bills

Nearly a third of $6 million in Montgomery County coronavirus relief funds used to help people who had fallen behind paying electric and gas bills went to residential customers in three ZIP codes, an analysis of final program data shows.

Combined ShapeCaption
Nearly a third of $6 million in Montgomery County coronavirus relief funds used to help people who had fallen behind paying electric and gas bills went to residential customers in three ZIP codes, an analysis of final program data shows.

Montgomery County and the region’s two largest utilities worked together to earmark $6 million to pay off back utility bills for nearly 16,000 local households using federal coronavirus relief funds.

Nearly one-third of the $6 million spent in the program went to residential customers in three ZIP codes, an analysis of final program data shows. This was in the 45417, 45406 and 45405 Zip codes, geographically spanning much of west and north Dayton and portions of Harrison Twp. Moraine and Trotwood. Overall DP&L and Vectren credited 16,402 accounts during a county CARES Act program.

Addresses in 36 ZIP codes across the county received credits, according to program data.

“The number of applications we received through this program shows that many people in our communities are struggling,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. “A utility bill credit may not solve all the problems, but it did give thousands of households some relief from the financial struggles of this pandemic.”

ExploreDPL to seek first rate increase since 2015

The average Vectren credit amounted to about $177 per account and $476 among DP&L accounts, according to the utilities. Applicants had to be residential customers in Montgomery County and the credits covered only charges billed on or after March 1.

“DP&L cares about its customers and understands the impact that the pandemic has had. Especially with people working from home and with their school aged children taking classes from home, electricity is very critical,” said Mary Ann Kabel, DP&L’s communications director..

The utilities program with DP&L and Vectren launched Oct. 21 and ended Nov. 13. It was the last program in the county’s effort to distribute $92.8 million in federal CARES Act funds it was allocated in May.

“Working directly with these companies, we were able to accomplish this in less than a month, which shows how much we can all accomplish by working together,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge.

Explore$3M Montgomery County initiative aims to bridge digital divide

The county has now distributed or encumbered all the relief funding. Programs that received funding included those for rent and mortgage assistance, nonprofit agencies, educational organizations, farmers, small businesses and healthcare and daycare providers.

Vectren and DP&L county collaborated to complete the utilities program, said Montgomery County Commissioner Carolyn Rice.

“Our staff in the Office of CARES Act, our IT department, and the billing and IT departments of Vectren and DP&L worked quickly, because we all knew that there is a huge need in the county,” she said.

About the Author