In October, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced the launch of the new Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program. The program will provide eligible households with up to $2,000 toward electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. Payments through the program will be made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account.
“We are facing an unprecedented pandemic and from the very beginning the state has made it a priority to provide critical assistance to families, farmers, renters, homeowners and small business owners,” Gov. Reynolds says. “For Iowans who lost their job or saw their paycheck shrink as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program will help them keep the power on and their water running.”
The state allocated approximately $14.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for utility assistance programs (the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program launched in mid-July).
“We’re pleased this program has been established to help provide some financial relief to local families in need during the pandemic,” says Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president/general manager of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.
To be eligible to receive assistance, a residential electric, natural gas and/or water utility customer must have:
- A primary Iowa residence with active residential utility accounts, renters may apply as long as the utility account is in the applicant’s name.
- An unpaid utility bill balance or have previously entered into a payment plan with their utility provider.
- An annual income that is 80% of the median family income, based on county and household size.
- Experienced a COVID-19 loss of income (job loss, reduction in hours, reduction in pay) on or after March 17, 2020, which resulted in hardship in paying bills for electric, natural gas, and/or water utility service.
“Iowans, especially our low-income citizens, have been greatly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham says. “We are proud to make available this program offering to help our most vulnerable maintain critical utility services.”
For a full list of eligibility requirements, additional information and to apply, visit iowahousingrecovery.com. Applications will be accepted between Oct. 8, 2020, and Dec. 4, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Assistance will be awarded based on application completeness and eligibility in order received until all funds have been exhausted.
If you need assistance with documentation for your application, please contact your local electric cooperative.