City providing additional funding for its COVID-19 Utility Relief Fund
First $2.5 million will go to help LG&E customers
Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that the city is making additional funding available for its COVID-19 Utility Relief Program, starting with $2.5 million to help residents who have fallen behind on Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) bills as a result of COVID-19.
The funds are designed to assist residents with a past-due amount on an active LG&E account. The outstanding balance must have occurred since March 16, 2020, and customers will need to attest they have had a financial hardship during the pandemic.
Customers with outstanding balances could receive a one-time credit for up to $1,000 on LG&E bills.
An additional $2.5 million will be shared with Louisville Water Co. in the coming weeks; details on that spending are not yet finalized.
Funding for the Utility Relief Program comes from the first round of Louisville’s Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP), which have been approved to address the city’s most urgent needs. The LG&E funds will be distributed by the city’s Office of Resilience and Community Services (RCS) via the Neighborhood Place network.
“We know financial hardships related to COVID-19 created a high demand for utility assistance, and we have worked with our partners to get people back on track,” said Fischer. “As Louisville continues to recover from the impact of COVID, many households continue to face hardships. We are grateful to utilize this first round of money from the Federal American Rescue Plan to help stabilize our most vulnerable households.”
Earlier in 2021, Louisville assisted more than 11,400 LG&E customers with outstanding balances with $6 million in utility assistance. In addition, Louisville Water Co. was able to provide $4 million in relief to 11,765 residential customers utilizing a new Louisville Metro COVID Relief Portal. Funding for these programs was made possible through general fund dollars freed up by Federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security) Act funding in other areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented number of households to fall behind on their utility bills due to the widespread loss of employment and diminished pay for many Louisvillians. To demonstrate the current level of need, LG&E reported 21,000 residential customers were eligible for disconnections as of the end of June 2021.
“Throughout the pandemic, in addition to safety, our primary focus has been communicating with our customers, making sure they have the latest information, and know that we are ready and willing to assist them,” said LG&E and KU Vice President-Customer Services, Eileen Saunders. “While we resumed disconnects due to non-payment in mid-June, after suspending them for more than a year and half, we want our customers to know that we’re here to work with them and to help them prevent a loss of service.”
How to apply for the LG&E assistance:
Schedule a drop off appointment in advance at one of four Neighborhood Place Drop Boxes. Appointments can be scheduled by phone by calling 502-977-6636 or online at LGEHelp.itfrontdesk.com. The toll-free service is currently open and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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 since March 16, 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:
- 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. (The past due amount must have occurred since March 16, 2020)
- LG&E Utility Assistance application form can be downloaded here or found at your nearest Neighborhood Place office drop boxes that include the income documentation form.
These Metro COVID-19 Relief Program funds for LG&E will operate until funding is depleted. Funding will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
LG&E would like to remind customers who are behind on their bill that they can set up a payment plan that best fits their situation and spreads out their past due balance over installments. Once a disconnection notice is received, customers can sign up for a payment plan through any of the following options:
- LG&E and KU mobile app – available in the App Store and Google Play Store
- MyAccount – available through the LG&E and KU website, lge-ku.com
- LG&E and KU automated phone system – press 1-2-2-1 at any time
Customers can also visit an LG&E business office in person or speak to a Customer Care representative by phone.
Mayor Fischer is reminding residents that the federally funded LIHEAP Summer Cooling is also currently operating, providing cooling assistance for qualified residents separated in two components, Subsidy and Crisis. Eligible households can apply for one or both components Households must meet eligibility requirements, with a household income at or below 150% of the Kentucky median income can apply for one or both components.
LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is also administered through the Office of Resilience and Community Services. Check here for eligibility and how to apply.
For more information, https://louisvilleky.gov/government/resilience-and-community-services, call Metro United Way’s help referral service at 211, or Metro311 by simply dialing 311 or (502) 574-5000 or email https://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro311.