EWEB encourages customers to apply for assistance online
March 30, 2020
The Eugene Water & Electric Board is encouraging customers who plan to apply for bill assistance to use the utility’s online application. The utility's offices are closed to the public due to the challenges of COVID-19, but customers can still conduct business online. That includes staying current with payments, and applying for the EWEB’s Customer Care bill assistance program. The utility offers the $260 credit annually to customers who meet income guidelines, and in response to the coronavirus, the utility is extending the program to customers who experience a job loss related to the crisis.
With so many local residents hit hard by the pandemic and associated business closures, EWEB expects a surge of applications when the program opens on April 1st. The utility is offering some tips to streamline the process for its customers.
First, EWEB recommends reviewing the application instructions in advance, and gathering necessary documentation. In addition to their EWEB account number, applicants will need proof of income eligibility or unemployment benefits.
One easy way to obtain proof of benefits is using an app called Fresh EBT. The app is free for Oregon Trail Card holders, and comes with several features that users may find useful, including coupons and the ability to explore job postings.
As an alternative to using the app, a letter from Oregon Department of Human Services or the state Employment Department will also serve as proof of eligibility.
Another tip is using the utility’s online form to apply for assistance. This will help avoid overloading the phone lines and long on-hold wait times for applicants.
For seniors or disabled customers, EWEB offers the additional option to apply through the mail.
“We want to make the application process as easy as possible during this time when we’re unable to offer in-person assistance,” said Anna Wade who works in EWEB’s customer solutions office. “Since our building is currently closed to the public, online is the preferred way to apply, but we will continue to do everything we can to make sure our customers have accessibility options.”
Applications for the EWEB Customer Care program will open April 1st at 9 a.m. and are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funds for the month have been fully allocated.
The Customer Care application, along with additional instructions, including a video tutorial for using the online form, is on the website eweb.org/assistance.