Holy Cross Energy on Friday issued the following press release regarding $2 million in economic assistance the member-owned electric co-op is offering to its members during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis:
Due to the earlier “Stay at Home” and now “Safer at Home” orders issued by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Holy Cross Energy (HCE) members have had their work hours cut, lost their jobs, closed their businesses, or are not working in order to take care of loved ones.
Many HCE members are therefore unable to pay their utility bills in part or in full and are in risk of financial jeopardy even after the “Safer at Home” orders are lifted in the future.
To help these members through this difficult time, HCE will be providing members with $2 million dollars in economic assistance through the following programs:
Member Equity Checks. As a not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative, HCE returns any excess revenue it collects each year to HCE members in the form of annual member equity checks. After closing the books on 2019, the HCE Board of Directors have approved the distribution of $1.5 million dollars in excess revenue in mid-May rather than holding those funds for future use by the cooperative. The amount of each member’s check will be based on last year’s consumption. If the amount is less than $10, members will receive the funds in the form of a bill credit.
HCE Member Assistance Fund. In April, the HCE Board of Directors also approved an additional $500,000 in unclaimed member equity for use by HCE members who will need extra assistance in paying their electricity bills. Starting May 1, if a member cannot pay a delinquent HCE electric bill that was sent after March 12, they can receive a bill credit to go towards that bill. Each qualifying member will be eligible for up to $250 in bill credits between now and the end of the year, or until the funds are depleted.
Members will only be required to self-certify online or in writing that they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Members can call 970.945.5491 or visit holycross.com/covid-bill-payment-assistance/ for further program information and to apply for funding.
“We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic shutdowns have had a dramatic impact on every member of our community,” said Bryan Hannegan, HCE’s President and CEO. “Whether they or their family have been directly affected by the virus, we hope this $2 million in economic assistance will help with their electric bills, and give them one less thing to worry about during this difficult time.”
In addition, all community members can also reach out to Catholic Charities at 970.384.2060 in Garfield and Pitkin Counties or Salvation Army at 970.948.0704 in Eagle County for payment assistance. Homes heated by electricity may also be eligible for assistance from the Colorado Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) at 866-432-8435.