Submitted by Orcas Power and Light Cooperative
Members who are struggling to pay their power bills during COVID-19 can apply for assistance to keep their Orcas Power and Light Cooperative accounts up to date. The board voted to continue COVID-19 Relief Measures for as long as the approved funding lasts. Members can apply for assistance online at www.opalco.com or through their Family/Community Resource Center. The measures available include:
• No fees or disconnects for late bills and payment plans to meet any budget. No application necessary, but a payment plan must be in place if the account is in arrears.
• Energy Assist bill credit program — just check the COVID-19 box on the online form to receive a monthly bill credit of $31.41-61.41 for two months — based on household size.
• Commercial members can apply for the EAP-C program, which will waive the service access charge (fixed charge) of $67.57 per month for two billing cycles.
• Anyone in the Energy Assist programs can also get a $25 monthly bill credit from Rock Island for their internet service – just show them your OPALCO bill with the credit line item.
• Full details available online at opalco.com/covid-19-relief-measures/.
The co-op will not disconnect members for non-payment during this period of pandemic mitigation measures, however, members are still responsible for paying their bills and any accumulated balances. OPALCO will be reaching out to members whose accounts are in arrears to set up payment plans and help manage account balances that will eventually come due. You may get a letter, door tag or automated call from OPALCO to discuss your past-due balances, but OPALCO will never call you to disconnect your service. If we call you over the phone, a live representative will advise you of payment options. Beware of opportunistic scam callers who are posing as electric providers across the nation. Be proactive and call 360-376-3500 to check on your account status, and set up a payment plan if necessary.
With the heating season around the corner, members who are already struggling will face further hardship and OPALCO is concerned about meeting the growing need. Please help spread the word that help is available — and donate to Project PAL if you are able. Members can round up their bill each month, make one-time or monthly donations, donate their Community Solar credits and/or purchase a “gift of power” certificate to be applied to a co-op neighbor’s account. Please call 360-376-3500 to make a donation or gift — or you can make a charitable gift to the Project PAL Fund held at the Orcas Island Community Foundation.