Local utility companies trying to assist residents during tough times

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 6:09 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - With the state’s moratorium on evictions now expired, local utility companies are doing their best to work with residents who may be unable to pay their bills.

City of Tallahassee utilities are urging residents to reach out to them or a non-profit before they get behind.

“What we’re doing now, and what we’ve done since March, is really show a lot of empathy, based on the direction of our Mayor and Commissioners. We are asking folks to call us to work on pay plans and extensions, and fortunately, we have the Leon County CARES Act,” said Chief Customer Officer James Barnes. “We have helped hundreds of people with extensions and pay plans to encourage them to get caught up. And most certainly we know, the further you get behind, the more difficult it is.”

Barnes says the worst point was when utility bills were highest in June and July; now we are at the lowest point of the year for those bills, but some are still struggling.

“There are resources that are out there, individuals just need to be proactive and go get it.”

CARES Act funding through Leon County is now available to more people.

“The Leon County Commission, working with Leon County staff, have greatly expanded the criteria and the funding for families that have incurred losses over the coronavirus,” said County Commissioner Rick Minor.

The maximum award for Individual grants is up from $3,000 to $5,000. The County also expanded the median income range.

“Even if you weren’t eligible before, you may be eligible now,” said Commissioner Minor.

Talquin Electric is also working with its customers.

“Any Member affected by the COVID-19 crisis who contacts Talquin will not be disconnected for non-pay. Talquin encourages all Members facing difficulties in paying their utility bills to contact Talquin directly for utility bill assistance,” said spokesperson Maicel Green in a statement.

Green also wrote, “Talquin continues to utilize the same collection process as we have throughout the pandemic crisis. We are committed to finding a solution that works for every Member.”

The Capital Area Community Action Agency also has options for utility assistance; you can visit their website here.

You can learn more about Leon CARES funding here.

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