Coronavirus: London Hydro provides $400k to utility bill assistance program

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As the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic has put additional financial pressures on many Londoners, London Hydro has announced it is doubling its annual contribution to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, which helps provide utility bill assistance and is distributed by the Salvation Army.

“We regularly provide $200,000 toward this program but this year we have doubled the contribution,” CEO Dr. Vinay Sharma explained.

“We also made a request to Salvation Army to relax some of the rules so that more people can make use of these funds.”

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“For us, if customers do not pay the hydro bill, we get bad debt as a result of that which is a cost to the corporation and customer gets a bad credit rating,” he continued.

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“This way, our expense remains almost unchanged — that is either bad debt or a contribution [to the Salvation Army program] — but customer is helped by not having that bad credit rating on his account.

“So this way, we provide some assistance to our community.”

London Hydro previously announced that it would be extending its winter disconnection period by 90 days to June 17, in light of the pandemic.

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Sharma added that customers wishing to make extended payment accounts can email or call (519) 661-5503.

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“I want our customers not to despair, rather call us and we can make extended payment arrangements,” he said.

“We are forgiving late payment charges; there is no late payment charges for any of the residential customers or small businesses. We have many, many programs like that.”

Sharma also reminded Londoners to be wary of scams, noting that there is no threat of disconnection of service at this time and London Hydro would never call customers to demand money on the spot.

The politics of financial assistance for the energy sector
The politics of financial assistance for the energy sector