You could be eligible for a utility rebate from the City of Tallahassee and not even know it; thousands of your neighbors could enjoy the windfall too. So far, a relief program for low-income customers is off to a slow start.
In March, the Tallahassee City Commission set aside over $6 million to help utility customers with rising natural gas rates. $1.2 million is ready to help low-income customers. The city is trying to get the word out.
For a senior citizen like Ellen Nix, a little relief on a utility bill is worth a little paperwork.
“I heard about it, I said I better find out how to do this so I can get this help. Every time I get a little help, I'm appreciative,” Ellen says.
If she qualifies, Ellen could get $15 a month off her utility bill from this June through next March. So far, city staffers like Sharon Arnold have signed up just a fraction of those who qualify.
“The program is up and going. It’s a new program we've implemented, trying to give customers time enough to know it's in existence,” Sharon says.
The Tallahassee Senior Center is one place you can sign up for the program, but you don't have to be a senior citizen to qualify. It's open to anyone who meets the income guidelines. That means about $11,000 a year if you're a single person without dependents.
Sign-ups will go on through the end of June at these five locations:
- The Senior Center
- Smith Williams Neighborhood Center
- Palmer Munroe Center
- Lawrence Gregory Center
- The Lincoln Neighborhood Center
The sign ups continue, mostly from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, at the community centers through June. After that, you can apply for the program at City Hall.
As for people who don't qualify for that program, city commissioners dipped into their rate fund to ease the impact of rising natural gas prices on all Tallahassee utility customers. They're using $5 million from the rate stabilization fund to help everyone's bills, not just low-income people.