East Montpelier, Vt: Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) urges its members to apply for state assistance covering past-due electric bills and other utility bills. Grants are avail-able to households, businesses, and nonprofits unable to pay utility bills as a result of COVID-related economic hardship. Utilities may include Vermont electric; natural gas; landline; private water; municipal, community, or fire district water and sewer/wastewater.
Applicants may fill out a single application that will be scanned for all utility accounts more than 60 days past due. Each customer may receive 100 percent of all outstanding arrearages, up to $10,000. The program is first-come first-served and available until December 15, or earlier if funds are spent.
“This funding is a lifeline to many of our households and small businesses and nonprofits, and we really want to make sure everyone who’s eligible applies for this funding,” said General Manager Patty Richards.
Residential applicants must attest to COVID-19–related economic hardship, including: illness with COVID or caring for someone ill with COVID, unemployment, layoff, reduced work hours, or inability to work due to loss of childcare or school closure. Business and nonprofit applicants must attest to 50 percent loss of revenue in a single month since the beginning of March 2020.
VCAAP was created by the Vermont Legislature with $8 million of Federal CARES Act funding in order to provide utility ratepayer assistance for accumulating arrearages linked to the pandemic.
“We are looking at a record number of accounts more than 60 days past due. This is an opportunity for our members to get financial help. It was set up to lessen the stress and burden of those struggling due to the pandemic,” said Richards. “This not only helps the member that is having difficulty paying their bill, but it also helps other coop members. Unpaid bills are eventually folded into rate increases, so any arrearages left over are shouldered by the rest of our members. We are grateful the Vermont legislature and Governor made this funding available to members experiencing hardship, because paying off these bills supports our entire membership. If you’re past due, we urge you to apply today. Our Member Services team is happy to help you with the process.”
To reach WEC’s Member Services team with questions and application support, call 802-223-5245 or 1-800-932-5245.
Applications and information about VCAAP are available on Vermont’s Department of Public Service website at https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/vermont-covid-19-arrearage-assistance-program-0.
About Washington Electric Cooperative:
Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility founded in 1939. WEC serves approximately 10,800 member-owners in 41 towns throughout Washington, Orange, Caledonia, and Orleans counties with power generated from 100 percent renewable sources. WEC is an equal opportunity provider and employ-er. For more information please visit washingtonelectric.coop or call 802-223-5245.