Home News Louisville launches $10M program to help people behind on utility bills

Louisville launches $10M program to help people behind on utility bills

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Louisville is launching a program that will help those in the metro pay for utility bills, offering some relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.According to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the number of people behind on utility bills is almost ten times higher than it was before the pandemic began.”In mid-March of 2020 there were 1,900 customers behind on their Louisville Water or MSD bill. There are now 15,000 with an average outstanding balance of $700,” Fischer said.Watch again below: Mayor Fischer discusses new $10 million fundVice-president of communications at the Louisville Water Company Kelley Dearing Smith says, the pandemic has affected a wide variety of customers. “Roughly 80 percent of those customers have either never been behind on their Louisville water or MSD bill or they’ve only been behind one time,” Smith said.There are roughly 28,000 LG&E customers who are behind on their bills, with an average balance of $400, according to Fischer.Metro Council members, utility partners and service agencies announced Monday that $10 million will be available for assistance with LG&E, Water and MSD bills. The Metro COVID-19 Utility Relief Funds are designed for residents with an active LG&E, Louisville Water Company/MSD account with a past due amount. The outstanding balance must have occurred between March 16, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. While there is no income restriction, customers will need to attest that they have had a financial hardship during the pandemic. “It could be financial hardships from a job loss, perhaps it’s reduced wages. You also have the option to check that you had to step away from work to care for a loved one,” Smith said.Those with outstanding balances on their utility bills could receive a one-time credit for up to $500 each on LG&E and Water/MSD bills. You can apply now until the funds are gone. They will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. It’s unclear when more funding for assistance could become available.Fischer was among 284 mayors in the U.S. Conference of Mayors to sign a letter urging Congress to quickly pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill. The relief package would provide $350 billion in aid to state and local governments.”Federal support for state and local government is absolutely essential to making sure that the American people have the resources they need to get through this pandemic and create a strong and equitable recovery,” Fischer said.Here’s how to apply:Metro COVID-19 Relief LG&E Assistance: 1) Call your local Community Ministry at www.louisvilleministries.org or call Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 to locate the ministry nearest youor2) Schedule an appointment in advance with Neighborhood Place by calling 502-977-6636 or visit online at LGEHelp.itfrontdesk.comEligibility for the Metro LG&E Relief Program: Jefferson County residency Experienced a COVID-19-related economic hardship Have a past due/delinquent LG&E electric or gas bill (arrearage must have occurred March 16 – December 31, 2020) There are no income restrictions to receive this utility assistance, however, income documentation is required to gain entry into the LG&E program.Documentation may include (check Community Ministry and Neighborhood Place for specifics): Photo ID for adult(s) in the household Social Security card(s) or official documentation with Social Security numbers for everyone living in the household (or Permanence Residence/Green Card) Current bill with a past due balance, or a brown, disconnect notice from LG&E. (Arrearage must have occurred between March 16 through Dec. 31, 2020). When applying via Neighborhood Place, the LG&E Utility Assistance Application form can be downloaded here or found at Neighborhood Place office drop boxes that include the income documentation form.Metro COVID-19 Relief Louisville Water Company/MSD Assistance:Contact Louisville Water Company: Apply online using the self-service portal at LouisvilleWater.com/MetroReliefPortal Customers without computer access can visit local Community Ministries, make an appointment with the Louisville Free Public Library or visit Louisville Water at 550 South Third Street.Eligibility: Have a residential account in Jefferson County Have a past-due balance sometime between March 16, 2020 – December 31, 2020 Identify a COVID-19-based financial hardshipFunding for the relief program comes from Louisville Metro Government general fund dollars freed up by federal CARES Act funding in other areas. City officials said the funds will be distributed by the city’s Office of Resilience and Community Services under agreements with the utilities and the utilities’ foundations and administrative support from the Association of Community Ministries and Neighborhood Place.WLKY will update this story.

Louisville is launching a program that will help those in the metro pay for utility bills, offering some relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the number of people behind on utility bills is almost ten times higher than it was before the pandemic began.

“In mid-March of 2020 there were 1,900 customers behind on their Louisville Water or MSD bill. There are now 15,000 with an average outstanding balance of $700,” Fischer said.

Watch again below: Mayor Fischer discusses new $10 million fund

Vice-president of communications at the Louisville Water Company Kelley Dearing Smith says, the pandemic has affected a wide variety of customers.

“Roughly 80 percent of those customers have either never been behind on their Louisville water or MSD bill or they’ve only been behind one time,” Smith said.

There are roughly 28,000 LG&E customers who are behind on their bills, with an average balance of $400, according to Fischer.

Metro Council members, utility partners and service agencies announced Monday that $10 million will be available for assistance with LG&E, Water and MSD bills.

The Metro COVID-19 Utility Relief Funds are designed for residents with an active LG&E, Louisville Water Company/MSD account with a past due amount. The outstanding balance must have occurred between March 16, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. While there is no income restriction, customers will need to attest that they have had a financial hardship during the pandemic.

“It could be financial hardships from a job loss, perhaps it’s reduced wages. You also have the option to check that you had to step away from work to care for a loved one,” Smith said.

Those with outstanding balances on their utility bills could receive a one-time credit for up to $500 each on LG&E and Water/MSD bills.

You can apply now until the funds are gone. They will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

It’s unclear when more funding for assistance could become available.

Fischer was among 284 mayors in the U.S. Conference of Mayors to sign a letter urging Congress to quickly pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill. The relief package would provide $350 billion in aid to state and local governments.

“Federal support for state and local government is absolutely essential to making sure that the American people have the resources they need to get through this pandemic and create a strong and equitable recovery,” Fischer said.

Here’s how to apply:

Metro COVID-19 Relief LG&E Assistance:

1) Call your local Community Ministry at www.louisvilleministries.org or call Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 to locate the ministry nearest you

or

2) Schedule an appointment in advance with Neighborhood Place by calling 502-977-6636 or visit online at LGEHelp.itfrontdesk.com

Eligibility for the Metro LG&E Relief Program:

  • Jefferson County residency
  • Experienced a COVID-19-related economic hardship
  • Have a past due/delinquent LG&E electric or gas bill (arrearage must have occurred March 16 – December 31, 2020)
  • There are no income restrictions to receive this utility assistance, however, income documentation is required to gain entry into the LG&E program.

Documentation may include (check Community Ministry and Neighborhood Place for specifics):

  • Photo ID for adult(s) in the household
  • Social Security card(s) or official documentation with Social Security numbers for everyone living in the household (or Permanence Residence/Green Card)
  • Current bill with a past due balance, or a brown, disconnect notice from LG&E. (Arrearage must have occurred between March 16 through Dec. 31, 2020).
  • When applying via Neighborhood Place, the LG&E Utility Assistance Application form can be downloaded here or found at Neighborhood Place office drop boxes that include the income documentation form.

Metro COVID-19 Relief Louisville Water Company/MSD Assistance:

Contact Louisville Water Company:

  • Apply online using the self-service portal at LouisvilleWater.com/MetroReliefPortal
  • Customers without computer access can visit local Community Ministries, make an appointment with the Louisville Free Public Library or visit Louisville Water at 550 South Third Street.

Eligibility:

  • Have a residential account in Jefferson County
  • Have a past-due balance sometime between March 16, 2020 – December 31, 2020
  • Identify a COVID-19-based financial hardship

Funding for the relief program comes from Louisville Metro Government general fund dollars freed up by federal CARES Act funding in other areas.

City officials said the funds will be distributed by the city’s Office of Resilience and Community Services under agreements with the utilities and the utilities’ foundations and administrative support from the Association of Community Ministries and Neighborhood Place.

WLKY will update this story.