Dear Valued Customer:
The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis no one in our community ever expected to endure. However, here we are in the midst of one of the most trying times our country has ever experienced.
While most of us are adapting to a new normal and coping in ways we’ve never had to before, I want you to know that there is one thing that remains unchanged — the commitment that OUC, your hometown utility, is doing the right thing for our community. We’re here for you, no matter what. I want to let you know what we’re doing to give back to you, our neighbors, as we know so many in our community can use a helping hand.
On April 14, OUC’s Board of Commissioners will vote on a package of far-reaching recommendations to help our customers and the Central Florida community impacted by COVID-19. The proposal offers immediate relief by lowering utility bills and provides additional solutions to customers over the next year.
Here’s what we’re proposing:
$7.5 Million to Decrease Electric Fuel Rates for May Bills
OUC will pass to customers fuel savings from lower-than-budgeted natural gas prices. This will allow $7.5 million to offset the fuel charge portion of customer bills by about 39% in May. That equates to about an 11.4% overall savings, or $12.50, for the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month; 11.2%, or $18.75, for small commercial customers using a 1,500 kWh non-demand rate per month.
$2.6 Million to Project CARE, OUC’s utility bill assistance fund
We also plan to contribute $2.6 million to Project CARE that will provide up to $500 in relief to qualified customers. The fund is administered through the Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 program. Since 1994, OUC, its employees and customers have contributed more than $6 million through a process where OUC matches donations 2 to 1 and provides lump sum contributions during times of crisis such as 9/11, the 2008/2009 economic downturn, and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Orlando, for which OUC provides billing services, has offered to offset some of those payments to assist these efforts.
Learn more about Project CARE and how to have your donation matched 2 for 1 at OUC.com/projectcare.
$1.5 Million for Utility Bill Payment Assistance to Qualified Small Businesses
We recognize the important role small business plays in our community and while the exact criteria for the proposed $1.5 million small commercial customer support is still being determined, we are working in collaboration with community partners to ensure it reaches as many customers as possible. Our goal is to launch this aid in early May and will send out more information soon.
$500,000 for New OUC Power Pass Customers
In addition, as part of our effort to provide innovative solutions, an amount of $500,000 will be used to waive the first monthly customer charge for new customers enrolling in OUC’s Power Pass program, which allows customers to prepay for utility services. Because OUC anticipates that customers will experience larger bills as temperatures increase, customers who choose to enroll will have their service deposit applied to their account and can pay down their remaining balance incrementally as they go.
Learn more about OUC Power Pass at OUC.com/powerpass.
Service Disconnections Suspended and Payments Waived
OUC will continue with its mid-March commitment to suspend electric and water disconnections for nonpayment and waive late payment fees until further notice.
Payment Plans and Deferred Payment Arrangements
We will also work with our customers to determine payment plans or deferred payment arrangement for up to 12 months depending on qualifying criteria.
We know the recovery will likely be a long one, and again, we’re here with you. We promise to work hard to continue to come up with innovative ways to serve our community in any way we can. For now, we believe this multifaceted approach will bring relief to customers now and in the months ahead.
General Manager & CEO
OUC—The Reliable One