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Demand For Utility Help "Unlike Anything We've Ever Seen"


In response to the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic local utilities are offering assistance to their customers to help them cope. 

Joe Harwood with Eugene Water & Electric said Wednesday they tripled their budget this month for their bill assistance program to almost $240 thousand.

“Even with that tripling of the budget, the assistance programs for the month were pretty much eaten up within the first hour.” Harwood said,  “And, so we know there is a lot of people hurting out there. We’re looking at different ways we can help spread our assistance around. But, I will say the demand is unlike anything we’ve ever seen including the great recession back in 2008.”

Harwood says EWEB is committed to keeping the lights on and water running for its customers, especially as more residents are staying home to prevent the spread of coronavirus. EWEB has temporarily suspended service disconnections and fees for late payments. They’re also offering a job loss benefit for those who are unemployed due to the pandemic.

EWEB has also adjusted its work assignments so that crews can maintain social distancing. They’re also halting planned outages so that people staying home do not lose electricity during this time. 

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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