Orlando Utilities Commission approves $12 million COVID-19 response package

click to enlarge Orlando Utilities Commission approves $12 million COVID-19 response package
Photo via OUC/Facebook
The Orlando Utilities Commission's Board of Commissioners approved recommendations on Tuesday to help their customers and members of the public during the COVID-19 crisis.

OUC's $12.1 million package lowers utility bills next month and will provide additional relief to customers over the next year.

It includes $7.5 million to lower electric fuel bills for the month of May, which is a 11.4 percent overall savings for residential customers and a reduction of 11.2-19.7 percent for commercial customers.

The package will also include a contribution of $2.6 million to Project CARE, in partnership with the City of Orlando, OUC’s utility assistance program for qualified residential customers. Customer donations to Project CARE will also be matched, 2-to-1 by the package, up to $100,000.

Qualified small businesses will receive $1.5 million in utility bill payment assistance, as well as $500,000 for new OUC Power Pass customers.

OUC will continue suspending electric and water disconnections for nonpayment, and is waiving late-payment fees "until further notice," with customers eligible for payment plans and deferments for up to 12 months.

OUC intends to launch the aid package in early May.

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The drop in gas prices from dwindling international demand is also being passed on to customers. A total offset of $7.5 million toward fuel charges on customers' bills in May, estimated to be about 39 percent for the gas portion, equates to about $12.50 saved for households and $18.75 for small businesses.

The exact criteria to qualify for the small-business $1.5 million allotment is still being determined "in collaboration with community partners in an effort to ensure it enhances other programs and reaches as many customers as possible."

OUC is a municipally-owned public utility, and provides electric and water services to residents of Orlando, St. Cloud and some adjacent parts of unincorporated Orange County.

"The city is very grateful for these efforts which are innovative and demonstrate a great way to help our community," said Orlando Mayor and OUC board member Buddy Dyer in a statement.

OUC says it will release more information in the next few weeks, with a goal of launching this the aid package in early May.

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