It’s midsummer, and we’re checking in to see how our Co-op family is getting along. OPALCO is closely monitoring member requests for assistance and payment arrears during the pandemic. We are digging deep to put any and all available resources into helping members pay their power bills.
Since March, OPALCO has helped more than 450 members to pay their bills. Other members have given generously to our member assistance programs: donating solar production credits or directly to our low-income programs. Many other members have benefited by not accruing fees or being disconnected for non-payment during these difficult times.
As we turn the corner into fall, we expect businesses may feel the pinch again – some more deeply – after a less than full capacity summer season. We don’t know what school will look like, but Rock Island provided internet connection to more than 100 middle- and high-school households in need to facilitate online learning this spring and is poised to help again in the fall.
When we first began offering COVID-19 assistance in March, we didn’t know how long the disruption would last and applied for the USDA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to ensure we could maintain our essential workforce. OPALCO is one of more than 200 businesses on Orcas that applied for and received a PPP loan, which is restricted to payroll, mortgage interest and related expense to prevent layoffs. Keeping the power on is always essential; during the pandemic it’s super critical.
The OPALCO Board reviews a pandemic update monthly to monitor member need and the Co-op’s bottom line. We will continue to allocate resources to member assistance for as long as funding is available. Check out the most recent COVID-19 financial update. Board materials are posted in the Document Library the Monday before each monthly board meeting. The next board meeting is August 13th.
OPALCO’s current COVID-19 relief measures (through August) include:
- Fee and disconnect waivers for business and residential meters
- Energy Assist (qualify by checking COVID-19 box) and special rate for commercial meters
- Rock Island ($25 bill credit if on Energy Assist)
- Switch it Up! payment deferral
Please stay safe, wash your hands and wear a mask. Let us know how you are doing by sending us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.