$10M bill assistance program launched in Louisville, though need outweighs available relief

$10M bill assistance program launched in Louisville, though need outweighs available relief

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A one-time credit will be available for Jefferson County residents who have fallen behind on bills during the coronavirus pandemic.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and members of the Metro Council were joined by utility partners and service agencies Monday to launch a $10 million LG&E, Louisville Water Company and MSD bill assistance program.

The credit will provide up to $500 on assistance for customers with past due balances from March 16 to Dec. 31, 2020.

LG&E has nearly 28,000 residential customers with overdue bills and Louisville Water/MSD has approximately 15,000 customers who have fallen behind, according to the Mayor’s Press Office.

Louisville Water Company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing-Smith said several of the customers who have overdue bills have never missed a payment.

However, taking average unpaid bills for each company into consideration, it would take $23 million to clear every account. That’s more than twice what the city is offering as relief.

“We know that this funding won’t last forever, but it’s what we have available now and there was unanimous support for getting this out into the community,” Metro Council member Bill Hollander said.

Proposed rate hikes by LG&E also add to the strain on utilities customers.

“Well, I don’t like it,” Fischer said. “I understand why LG&Es got to reinvest in their system to keep rates low, but the timing is bad. Louisville is protesting the rate increase.”

People can register for both the LG&E and Louisville Water, MSD assistance from Jan. 25 until funds are depleted.

The application process is below:

Metro COVID-19 Relief LG&E Assistance:

Contact one of the following:

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-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 December 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

The funding comes from Louisville Metro Government general fund dollars freed up by federal CARES Act and will be distributed through the Office of Resilience and Community Services.

For more information, click here, call Metro United Way’s help referral service at 211 or Metro311 by dialing 311 or (502) 574-5000.

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