Just over three weeks after the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the utility is making adjustments to assist customers impacted by the virus.
On Wednesday, the board met in emergency session to pass a resolution which will give General Manager Dave Ward the authority to expand the use of the PUD’s existing assistance programs and practices. Thus far, they have included the waiving of late fees, the use of donated Project Help dollars to assist customers and delaying the disconnection of power on delinquent accounts. In addition the utility has chosen to delay a projected 2% rate increase that was to have gone into effect on May 1st.
“This resolution opens more avenues for our Customer Service staff to help customers who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Board President Russ Skolrood. “If you are having trouble paying your monthly bill related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please call the PUD immediately.”
As part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act, an addition $900-million has been appropriated for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP. The resolution adopted by the utility is designed to help bridge the gap between now and the enactment of the federal assistance programs.
“The weight of the circumstances facing some of our customers is becoming heavier and heavier,” said Ward. “If you take the time to contact the PUD, programs are there to lessen the load.”
The PUD Customer Service office can be reached at (360) 532-4220. Account information can also be found online at ghpud.org or on the SmartHub mobile app. Customers who wish to donate to Project Help may do so by filling out the donation section found on the left side of their monthly return invoice, offering a donation of $1.00, $5.00 or “other” where customers may write in the amount they wish to donate.
In response to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order put in place by Governor Jay Inslee, the PUD has embraced social distancing by setting up remote work stations for employees, both at home and throughout PUD facilities. In this way the PUD is able to maintain the critical services they provide to the Grays Harbor community while ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for utility staff.