LMUD approves energy assistance program
Based on offering assistance up to a 1,000 kilowatt maximum, Richards said the reworked program would equate to about $65 a month for priority one customers, $52 for priority two, $39 for priority three, and $26 for priority four customers.
According to LMUD business office manager Keri Richards, customers applying for the program will now be separated into four priority levels. The higher the priority, the greater the customers need for assistance, Richards said to the LMUD board of directors at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Richards gave an example of a top priority customer as being someone who, without electricity, could be in a critical situation. Like a senior citizen with a low income, who has an electric heater as their primary heat source and requires life support, Richards said.
Priority two customers would be low-income senior citizens who have electric heat and are on social security or disability.
Priority three customers would be low-income with electric heat households, or low-income households requiring life support.
Priority four would be anybody who is income qualified, but have another heat source and has other ways for them to conserve and reduce their bill.
“The rationale for this (system) is that low income seniors with electric heaters don’t have any other choice,” Richards said. “They also have the added cost of that life support equipment. One 600 watt oxygen concentrator can add about $52 to a monthly bill.”
The LMUD board of directors said they wanted more information from Richards about the criteria used to decide who could and couldn’t qualify for ECAP at a special meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Richards, who gave a report on the program at the Sept. 11 meeting, said she would come back to the board with answers to its questions at its next regular board meeting.
“One of the concerns that we have been trying to address, and haven’t come up with solid answers on, is how we are going to stretch this funding out and how are we going to focus this money on those who are truly in need,” Richards said. “I came up with the concept of setting up a priority schedule.”
“Last meeting you had some concerns and some questions,” Richards said to board member Fred Nagel concerning a presentation she gave on Sept. 11. “I thank you, because you sent me back down the hall with a lot of things to think about. I took it a little bit further, and tried to come up with ways to stretch the budget.”
Board member Nancy Cardenas said she was concerned about the potential influx of customers who will show up for the program once the application process begins in October. She said she was concerned about Richards and her staff being able to handle the volume of customer traffic looking for assistance. Richards said she and the office staff would be able to handle the extra work load.
After the board said it was satisfied with the information Richards presented, Nagel said he wished Richards luck in the implementation of the program
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