Beginning May 1, 2021, qualified past due customers who certify they have been impacted by COVID-19 will receive a one-time bill credit for their past due bill amount as of April 30, 2021, up to $200. Past due is defined as 30 days in arrears. Qualified low-income customers that are not past due, who certify they have been financially impacted by COVID-19 will receive a one-time bill credit of $200.
To help customers pay down higher past due balances, Benton PUD will also match payments made by qualified past due customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The payment match is available for up to half of the April 30, 2021 past due amount, after the initial bill credit is applied. Payments made between May 1, 2021 and July 31, 2021 are eligible for this match. The program will end on July 31, 2021. Applications are available at BentonPUD.org
Since 1946, Benton PUD’s customers have enjoyed the benefits of a community-owned not-for-profit electric service provider. “Customer needs have been our number one priority for 75 years” said General Manager Rick Dunn. “As our community continues to deal with the impacts of the pandemic, it is clear some customers need more assistance with their power bills than has been provided through State or Federal funding.”
At the beginning of the pandemic Benton PUD suspended the practice of disconnecting power for nonpayment which was followed by Governor Inslee’s Proclamations prohibiting disconnections and eliminating our ability to work with customers to enter into meaningful long-term payment arrangements. While good intentioned, the state mandated override of Benton PUD’s business practices, which is set to expire July 31, 2021, resulted in many customers accumulating significant past due balances with no plan to bring accounts current.
Consistent with our longstanding mission and purpose which aim to bring value to the people we serve, and in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, Benton PUD’s COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program will provide needed financial relief to our most vulnerable customers. When the Governor’s prohibition on disconnections ends, Benton PUD will continue to assist customers in their recovery from the pandemic by using long-term payment arrangements and the Pay As You Go program to help customers maintain continuity of their electric service while paying back any remaining past-due balances.
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