EWEB to provide more than $200,000 in bill assistance in May
Thousands of Eugene residents are dealing with the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Eugene Water & Electric Board is doing its part to bring some relief.
Beginning Friday, May 1 at 9 a.m. EWEB customers who are struggling to pay their bill can apply for a $260 credit. EWEB offers the bill assistance program year-round to customers who meet income guidelines, but in response to the coronavirus, the utility has expanded the program by more than doubling the funds available and offering the assistance to customers who are now unemployed as a result of the crisis.
The assistance program re-opens each month on the first business day at 9 a.m. and applications are accepted first-come, first-served until funds are fully allocated for the month.
Last month 1,000 EWEB customers received the bill assistance. But even with expanded funding the program was fully allocated within an hour of opening.
“Much like April, we expect the May fund will be committed very quickly due to unprecedented need,” said Anna Wade in EWEB’s Customer Solutions Office. “But EWEB will continue to do our part to help, alongside city, state and federal efforts.”
In addition to the bill assistance program, EWEB has temporarily suspended service disconnections and late fees for those who are behind on their utility bills.
“Many people are not working, but everyone still needs electricity and drinking water,” said Wade. “We’re always working hard to provide reliable, cost effective and responsive services to our customers, but the COVID-19 crisis program allows EWEB to step-up our commitment to the community when it is needed most.”
With so many local residents hit hard by the pandemic and associated business closures, EWEB expects a surge of applications when the program opens on Friday, May 1, so the utility is offering some tips to streamline the process for its customers.
First, EWEB recommends reviewing the application instructions in advance, and gathering necessary documentation. In addition to your EWEB account number, applicants should prepare proof of income eligibility or unemployment benefits. If you don’t have this documentation, you can still apply, but it will add considerable processing time.
Another tip is using the utility’s online form to apply for assistance. This will help avoid overloading the phone lines and long on-hold wait times for applicants.
If you are a senior or disabled customer, EWEB offers the additional option to apply through the mail.
You can find the Customer Care application along with additional instructions and video tutorials on the website eweb.org/assistance.