CHARLESTON — Governor Jim Justice announced Wednesday that $25 million of the CARES Act Relief Fund has been allocated to assist qualifying West Virginians who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are struggling to pay their utility bills. Customers of electric, natural gas, water and sewer utility companies who have experienced economic hardship and/or uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic causing them to have unpaid utility bills from the period of March 1 – July 31 of this year, may receive financial assistance to pay those bills.
West Virginia residential customers who qualify for these funds will be receiving letters with an application from their utility companies in the next few days. Customers must complete and return the application to either their utility company or the Dollar Energy Fund no later than Thursday, November 12, 2020. Past due balances for bills issued before or after the eligible period, or not related to a COVID-19 related event (such as job loss), are not eligible for payment through this grant program.
“We appreciate Governor Justice recognizing the dilemma in which thousands of West Virginians are finding themselves,” stated PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane. “$25 million will make a huge difference to struggling families across West Virginia. My fellow Commissioners and I would like to thank the utility Companies for voluntarily not terminating customers during this difficult time brought about by COVID-19.”
Public service districts and municipal utilities will be working with their local Regional Planning and Development Councils, the West Virginia Rural Water Association and the West Virginia Municipal League on this grant process. All monies provided though the CARES Act Relief Fund must be spent by December 30, 2020.