PUD offers up to 50 percent credit for qualifying seniors

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Paying winter heating and electric bills can be difficult for seniors on a fixed budget. Since the 1980s, Clark Public Utilities has helped qualifying seniors stay warm during the colder months with its Senior Rate Credit Program. 

With the ability to earn credit on 50 percent of the winter electric bill, qualifying seniors can worry a little less about staying warm when it’s cold. 

According to Clark Public Utilities Community Care Manager Gretchen Alexander, the first requirement for the program is a member of the household being 62 or older. 

“Most commonly, our households are senior only, a single senior or a couple,” Alexander said. “But more and more we see households where its grandma and grandchildren or a senior with an adult child. We want to make sure we’re also reaching non-traditional senior households.”

Along with being 62 or older, other requirements for the rate credit program include living in Clark County for at least one year and receiving income less than $33,802 annually or $2,818 per month. 

“I think the most exciting thing is when we changed the income guidelines,” Director for Customer Service Lisa Fix said, explaining how Clark Public Utilities felt it was important to keep the rate credit equal with the cost of living around the county. “We really saw an increase in participation in the program.” 

According to Alexander and Fix, the amount of credit given to a senior or their family is determined by electrical bills from Jan. 1 to April 31 of the previous year. 

“The reason those months are selected are because those are our highest average heating months for Clark County,” Alexander said. 

Fix later explained how seniors can apply for the credit anytime of the year and still receive credit. 

“You can get the credit on your bill but only one time a year,” Fix said. 

Alexander and Fix also explained how the credit is applied to the bill right away, not over a course of time. For example, if a senior spent $400 heating their home from January to April of 2019, they would receive $200 in credit toward their January bill, which trickles on to February, March and April until it runs out. They will not receive a set amount each month. 

“The average credit given to each household is $225 (per year),” Alexander said. 

Alexander and Fix also said seniors do not need to have an electrically heated home to qualify for the program. As long as they fit the requirements, they can apply. 

“It takes electricity to run a gas heater,” Alexander said. 

Along with the rate credit, seniors can apply for other money-saving programs through Clark Public Utilities. 

“Generally when we screen for one program, we screen for all our other programs,” Fix said.

She explained how many seniors who are accepted for the senior rate credit program also fit the requirements for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which offers credit to those making less than $1,301 a month for a one person household. 

For more information on the senior rate credit or other assistance programs, visit clarkpublicutilities.com/residential-customers/financial-assistance/ or call  (360) 992-3000.

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