Chattanooga, TN (Sept. 9, 2020) – Starting October 1, EPB will resume its normal business practices by beginning to disconnect customers who have not made arrangements to start paying past due electric and fiber optics bills. In order to maintain these services, EPB is urging customers who are past-due to call now to learn about all of the assistance options that are currently available, 423-648-1372.
“Our goal is to work with each customer to help them keep their essential utilities on during this difficult time,” said Angela Henry with EPB Customer Relations. “Fortunately, extra utility assistance and other options are now available so customers can avoid disconnection by calling now. In addition, we will work with each customer individually to set up a payment plan to help them catch up on their bills over an extended period of time.”
According to Henry, both the normal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding and special COVID utility assistance are now available. “When we suspended disconnections back in March, we knew it was a short-term solution,” said Henry. “Realizing that bills would continue to accrue in accordance with legal requirements, we committed ourselves to ensuring real support was in place for our customers before resuming disconnections. Now that special COVID utility assistance is available in addition to the normal LIHEAP funding which has not been fully utilized for this year, we are in the best position to work with our customers to apply for assistance and keep their services on as they catch up on their bills.”
Through the State of Tennessee’s special COVID assistance program, customers who have already qualified for LIHEAP for this year have been credited up to an additional $325 on any past-due power bills. Since the LIHEAP program re-sets October 1, customers who have already utilized their assistance for the past year will be able to re-apply for up to $500 in additional assistance. In addition, many eligible customers have not yet applied for LIHEAP, so they can apply now for this year’s funding and then utilize the program again starting in October.
Since EPB suspended disconnections in March to provide relief for customers impacted by the onset of the COVID crisis, the utility has remained in continuing contact with customers who are past-due to provide clear communication about their options for assistance.
EPB also partnered with TVA in supporting the United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s Restore Hope Fund, which was launched to assist people who have been financially impacted by the COVID crisis with utility and housing assistance. During the initial fundraising, EPB and TVA provided matching funds to bolster the effort. EPB also launched an employee giving campaign and a public service announcement campaign for Restore Hope.
“Thanks to the response from individuals and businesses from across our community, the initial Restore Hope effort raised more than $510,000,” Henry said. “EPB also continues to work with community partners and monitor publicly funded initiatives to try to identify additional sources of utility assistance for our customers. We hope there will soon be additional announcements about new utility assistance.”