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EWEB devotes additional funding to help customers pay high winter bills

EUGENE, Ore. – The Eugene Water and Electric Board will help an additional 500 households struggling to pay higher than average electricity bills by devoting an additional $100,000 to its income-eligible assistance programs.

The supplementary funding is on top of the $1.5 million the utility already budgets annually for its assistance programs. EWEB helps those who meet the income requirements or customers who lost their jobs.

The Lane County Human Services Division, Catholic Community Services of Eugene and Springfield and the Campbell Senior Center in Eugene will assist in disbursing the additional funds.

EWEB says the extremely cold weather this winter caused bills to increase significantly. They say when temperatures drop to freezing or below, heating systems have to work harder, resulting in higher electric usage.

EWEB said the average temperature in Eugene between December 15 and January 31 was 34 degrees.

They say additional electric usage during extremely cold weather can move customers into a higher energy price category. EWEB currently charges 5.948 cents per kilowatt for the first 800 kWh, and 7.435 cents for usage above 800 kWh.

The utility is also offering customers more time to pay expensive bills after the cold weather in December and January. For payment extension options, contact EWEB’s Customer Service Department at 541-685-7000.

Customers who lost their jobs and receive state unemployment benefits can receive a $200 bill credit regardless of income.

The utility also offers a Budget Billing Program to help customers balance out the seasonal high and low bills by making monthly payments more predictable throughout the year.

To apply for the Customer Care programs, customers 60 years or older may call the Campbell Senior Center at 541-682-5354; east Springfield and upriver customers may contact Catholic Community Services of Springfield at 541-747-8349; all other customers should contact Catholic Community Services of Eugene at 541-345-3642.

More information is available at http://www.eweb.org/assistance.

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