OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — OPPD and MUD have seen about a 39% increase in customers seeking assistance since 2020 and with the recent cold spell, these utility companies know the need will increase.
"So even if they are caught up, but they are still experiencing that financial impact due to COVID, they can now get a few of their next bills taken care of,” said Megan Murray-Walter, Manager of Customer Experience at MUD.
Douglas County allotted $1 million towards MUD and $1 million towards OPPD.
Customers are able to use up to $500 of assistance per utility and now there are far fewer restrictions to apply.
“You have to have an income at 300% of the federal poverty income guideline or less in order to apply," said Murray-Walter.
Spots are filling up fast. OPPD alone has 94 customers approved so far.
"Those are customers that are approved, so customers are still gathering whatever verification documents that they need and we are still working on getting more information out there about the program,” said Britton Gabel, Senior Project Specialist of Customer Advocacy Programs with OPPD.
OPPD mentioned they are training their call centers on how to refer customers to assistance programs such as this one.
"We have people who have enough stress on their own plate trying to pay their bills, so how can we relieve that? By first of all having assistance options available like this program," said Gabel.