City Offers Financial Relief to Utility Customers Amid COVID-19
Program Provides Immediate Relief with Deferment Option
One day after City Commissioners participated in an intergovernmental agency board decision approving a $1 million emergency disaster relief package for local businesses, the City of Tallahassee is launching a program to help further ease the financial burden that businesses and individuals may be experiencing as a result of COVID-19.
The Utility Relief Program provides City customers facing financial hardships with an option to defer payment of current monthly bill for water, sewer, electric and natural gas and other utility charges until this fall.
“This alternative payment program is essentially a 6-month, interest-free loan to help those in our community struggling financially during these uncertain times. Through this City program, residential, commercial and not-for-profit utility customers will have time to recover from any financial impacts they are experiencing because of this COVID-19 crisis,” James Barnes, the City’s Chief Customer Officer, said.
The program applies to a City Utility bill issued after March 12, 2020, the same day the City announced that no one would be disconnected for non-payment, thus ensuring the community continued to receive essential utility services during this global health pandemic. The program will run through May 12, 2020.
Participants in the Utility Relief Program can expect the carryover to be billed in installments and clearly identified as a separate line item on their future bills beginning in September. Participating customers will also receive a reminder notice approximately two weeks prior to receiving their statement. The City will work with customers who participate on an individual basis.
Additional resources for Tallahassee businesses and their employees who are experiencing hardships during this crisis can be found online at oevforbusiness.org. Information includes the COVID-19 Emergency Disaster Relief (CEDR) Grant Program, which was developed locally to leverage and align with up to $800 million federal dollars to assist local small businesses.
The City continues to encourage utility customers to use energy wisely. To help, the City offers a wide range of energy efficiency programs, including free energy audits, energy retrofit grants, natural gas and Energy Star appliance rebates and ceiling insulation grants.