The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the livelihood of Floridians throughout the state. With the social distancing measures and statewide stay-at-home order necessary to fight this virus, many businesses are closing or downsizing operations, leaving their employees with significant pay cuts or no jobs at all.
This is hindering many Floridians’ ability to pay for life-sustaining essentials like food, medication, and utilities, and is disproportionately affecting low-income families and communities of color. As Floridians struggle to adjust to the new lifestyle of staying at home – many with the added pressure of schooling their children or trying to find work remotely – it is crucial that they continue to have access to power.
We’ve seen action from some utility companies who have agreed to payment deferrals and/or waivers, but with several dozen utility providers across the state, Floridians need comprehensive statewide action to ensure that everyone has reliable access to power.
For as long as this public health threat exists, no Floridian should have their electricity turned off because of an inability to pay. We are calling on Governor DeSantis to institute a moratorium on all utility disconnections until after this crisis. This is the only way to ensure the safety of the Floridians who must now stay home to protect themselves and their communities.
- Heart of Florida United Way has established a fund to support Central Florida residents whose financial stability is being impacted
- $100,000 initial investment
- residents must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including, but not limited, to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements and utility bills.
- Helps Hillsborough County residents pay for energy bills
- Prioritizes financial assistance appointments to households that have members who are part of the most vulnerable population (persons 60 years or older, school-age, or with a disability)
- Be a U.S. Citizen or an alien resident who is eligible for federal benefits
- Be a resident of Hillsborough County
- At least one household member must be age 60 or older
- Have a household gross income of no more than 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Be responsible for paying their home energy bills
- Must have a recent energy bill
Florida United Ways
- Heart of Florida United Way has established a fund to support Central Florida residents whose financial stability is being impacted by COVID-19
- ALICE Recovery Fund created to help people experiencing hardship due to decreased hours or unpaid leave
- Can help pay for housing, food, utilities, etc.
- Getting Ahead Program
- Helps individuals experiencing an interruption of income due to loss of employment or illness to pave a path to financial independence by providing rent, mortgage, utility and food assistance. Funding: $30,000
- Emergency Family Services
- Focuses on homeless prevention by providing individuals with rent, utilities and food assistance. Funding: $100,000
- COVID-19 Relief Fund
- can help keep a family’s utilities on, fill an emergency prescription for a college student, supplement a veteran’s food supply, or provide a working mother with a few extra hours of childcare
- “United We Care” Emergency Relief Fund for COVID-19
- designated to help provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed).
- Charlotte County Human Services Department
Family Services (Self Sufficiency/Utility Assistance)
- ALICE Program
- Catholic Charities | 904.829.6300 | ccbstaug.org
- Services through Food Pantry, Emergency Assistance for rent and utilities, Farm Worker Ministry and Family Reunification
- Catholic Charities Bureau
- Emergency assistance with utility, rent and sustaining food pantry.
- Family Stability Services Program
- We are able to provide the following services:
- Utility Assistance
- Rental Assistance
- Food Assistance
- Financial Literacy Courses
- Health Care Access Referrals
- Networking & Community
- Referral Services
- We are able to provide the following services:
At least 1 million Floridians face unpaid utility bills and power cutoffs; attorneys push for relief
Florida Pheonix September 23, 2020
Roughly 1 million Floridians have been unable to pay utility bills during COVID 19 and fear power disconnections this month that could shut down air-conditioning, lights and appliances, making homes unlivable.
A 'Tidal Wave' of Power Cuts May Be Coming as Electric Companies Resume Shutoffs
TIME August 31, 2020
For people who lost jobs or income during the pandemic, life has been a series of terrifying deadlines. There was July 24, the end of a federal eviction moratorium from government-backed housing, which had protected about one-third of renters.
Duke Energy to resume disconnecting customers behind on payments
Orlando Sentinel August 27, 2020
Duke Energy next week will resume disconnecting customers for nonpayment as advocacy groups are intensifying demands for a statewide moratorium on disconnections and debt forgiveness for low-income customers during the pandemic.
Leadership lacking in COVID-19 utility shut-offs | Opinion
South Florida Sun-Sentinel August 3, 2020
Floridians are no strangers to disaster. Our state weathers hurricanes and faces the deadly impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and flooding.
Tampa Bay power companies among first to resume shutoffs
Tampa Bay Times July 29, 2020
Other Florida utilities haven't set a firm date to resume shutoffs, while other states are opting for longer bans.
Nearly 600K Florida residents are late in paying electric bills
Pensacola News Journal July 29, 2020
TALLAHASSEE — Nearly 600,000 electric customers in Florida are behind in monthly payments since the coronavirus pandemic began hammering the economy and causing massive job losses, state utility regulators were told Wednesday.
Big disconnect: JEA to notify 24,000+ customers of utility disconnections starting July 7
First Coast News June 5, 2020
The grace period to pay overdue JEA bills slated to end next month with tens of thousands of customers on list for disconnection.
Floridians rack up an estimated $335 million in unpaid utility bills. What should we do?
The Capitolist May 14, 2020
Florida residents are racking up some hefty utility bills during the coronavirus lockdown. In addition to the obvious spikes in home electricity and water usage, people are also gulping down gigabites of internet data, too, and in many cases, wracking up data overages.
More than a million Floridians struggling to pay utility bills amid COVID-19, new survey suggests
WPTV May 7, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — About 15 percent or 1.4 million Florida households may not be able to pay their utility bills. That’s according to a new survey from national energy nonprofit Vote Solar.
Green Cove Springs no longer suspending shut-offs for utility customers
News4Jax April 30, 2020
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Starting Friday, the City of Green Cove Springs is no longer suspending disconnections for utility customers who are unable to pay their bill.
Environmental groups ask Florida Gov. DeSantis to require utilities to keep power on
Tampa Bay Times April 23, 2020
Four major utilities in Florida have already committed to keeping customers connected during the pandemic.
Clean Energy and Social Justice Organizations Call on Governor DeSantis to Issue Moratorium on Utility Disconnections
Capital Soup April 22, 2020
Statewide clean energy and social justice organizations are united in asking Governor Ron DeSantis to order all energy utilities in Florida to immediately suspend power disconnections for non-payment, reconnect households that were disconnected before the state of emergency was declared on March 9, and waive associated late fees and other fines for residential customers.
OUC coronavirus response to reduce May bills, bolster payment-assistance programs
Orlando Sentinel | April 9, 2020
Orlando’s utility plans to cut power bills in May by 11 percent for residential and 19 percent for commercial customers and contribute several million dollars to customer-assistance programs, all in responding to economic strife from COVID-19.
Electric utilities cutting bills temporarily for COVID-19 economic hit
Orlando Sentinel | April 3, 2020
The state’s largest utilities such as Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light Co. and some municipal utilities such as Mount Dora’s are reducing power bills temporarily in response to the COVID-19 hit on the economy.
Duke Energy to cut customer bills in May; TECO to spread savings out over the summer
Fox 13 Tampa Bay | April 3, 2020
Pointing to an “unprecedented national emergency” caused by COVID-19, Duke Energy Florida on Thursday proposed giving customers a break on their May electric bills.
How utility, phone and internet companies are giving consumers a break during coronavirus pandemic
USA Today March 23, 2020
Many utilities, telecommunications companies and automakers are easing shutoffs and waiving late fees to accommodate consumers who might be struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
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