The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors heard a presentation about a plan to boost the customer efficiency programs and assist people that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The Imperial Irrigation District has two income-qualified assistance programs and one medically qualified assistance program designed to help customers meet their energy needs. The item came as an information item to the board.
Those programs are the Residential Energy Assistance Program that provides income qualified customers with a discount on their energy bill. The other is the Emergency Energy Assistance Program that offers financial assistance to customers facing disconnection for non-payment. The third program is the Medical Equipment Energy Usage Assistance Program that reduces the electric bill for customers who use prescribed in-home medical equipment to sustain life. The board was asked to reallocate $2 million from the energy efficiency programs to the customer energy assistance programs.
The temporary flexibility to customer support programs will result in an increase to the budget allocated to these programs due to an increase in customer participation. Assisting an additional 1,000 customers qualifying under the program would result in an estimated additional expense of $800,000.
For the Residential Energy Assistance Programs, it will discount 20 percent and 30 percent for qualifying customers age 62 years and older. There will be an automatic six-month extension for customers with expiration’s occurring during the pandemic to minimize the traffic in the office and exposure to COVID-19.
Eligibility for new applicants facing financial hardship for six months will be for people that lost their jobs or reported fewer hours at work. Unemployed customers can provide EDD award letter or benefits statements as a source of income to qualify. They can who have yet to file 2019 tax returns could use 2018 tax returns as source of qualifications.
The Medical Equipment Assistance Program that reduces the electrical rate for customers who operate medical equipment necessary to sustain life or prevent deterioration of a person’s medical condition will be extended to those that had their doctor visits canceled or rescheduled due to COVID and minimizes foot traffic at IID offices.