The Marietta Board of Lights and Water plans to give a small rebate to its electric customers who have paid bills between March and August, and more relief to those who haven’t been able to pay their bills.
The board unanimously voted Wednesday to provide a 2% rebate for the period from March 1 to Aug. 31. One percent will go directly to residential and commercial customers in the form of a credit to their account, and the other percent will be set aside for the board to use for COVID-19 relief. The city’s total financial investment, if the rebates are finalized by the Marietta City Council next week, will be just over $1 million.
Earlier this year, the board suspended service disconnects for Marietta Power customers from March 18 to June 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic hardships.
While service disconnects resumed on June 16, special payment plans for customers who experienced coronavirus-related hardships were offered, which allowed extending the payment of past due amounts up to six months.
Under the rebate plan, an individual with a $100 electric bill would receive a $6 credit, and a business paying $2,000 a month for electricity would get a $120 credit, according to Mayor Steve Tumlin, who chairs the city-owned utility’s board.
The other part of the rebate, $525,000, will be used to help customers prevent service disconnects and pay outstanding bills. The city will work with a nonprofit organization to distribute the money based on need, the mayor said.
“We are a public utility. Our customers are more than sources of revenue. We benefit from them when things are good, so we help them when things are down, which COVID-19 has been,” Tumlin said. “If we can help somebody stay in their home, and retain a good customer for the long haul, that’s the goal here.”
To receive the rebate, customers must have had an active account on Aug. 31.
Marietta Power and Water has 41,975 electricity customers, 18,562 water customers and 17,880 sewer customers, a city spokesperson said.
Marietta Power customers may qualify for assistance from various utility assistance agencies. To access a list of agencies, visit the city’s website.
Those with questions about their power or who need assistance can contact 770-794-5150 or email@example.com.