BY ERIN CAMPBELL
The Iowa Economic Development Authority recently expanded eligibility for its new program to assist small businesses and nonprofits struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program aims to distribute $14.5 million to provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses in Iowa. Governor Reynolds allocated funding for this program from Iowa’s share of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in March.
Applications will be accepted at www.iowabusinessrecovery.com until Oct. 31, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. An eligible business can apply for a grant from $400 to $7,500 to cover four months of utility bills for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and October 15, 2020. The applicant's utility service provider(s) will receive a credit, which will be applied to the applicant's utility account.
Applicants can only apply once prior to August 21, and once after August 21, but the total request for both applications may not exceed four months of utility charges, or $7,500, whichever is less.
- For-profit and nonprofit businesses with 50 or fewer employees
- Must have a physical location (non-residential location) in Iowa
- Must be registered with the Iowa Secretary of State to do business in the state
- Must have experienced a COVID-19 loss of income on or after March 17, 2020, that resulted in hardships paying bills for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and Oct. 15, 2020
- Have not received any IEDA Small Business Relief Grant funding or any assistance from the State of Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Fund
- A business’s average monthly energy use must not exceed 25,000 kWh for electricity or 2,500 therms for natural gas
- A business must not have incurred more than two late charges in 2019 for not paying its utility bills prior to March 17, 2020
- The business must be open
The Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program is intended to provide short-term relief for Iowa’s small businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on this program, complete eligibility requirements and answers to frequently asked questions, please go to www.iowabusinessrecovery.com. Contact your local electric co-op for details on your business’s average monthly electric use and payment history.