OUC customers who are having a tough time paying their power and water bill due to the coronavirus pandemic have an option to apply for financial relief.

The utility is offering immediate electric and water bill relief to residential customers who are eligible for Project CARE, the utility’s bill-payment assistance fund supported by OUC, its employees and customers.

Earlier this year, OUC’s Board of Commissioners approved a $12.1 million COVID-19-related relief package, which included a $2.6 million grant to Project CARE. Since April, OUC has helped nearly 24,000 customers through payment options and financial assistance – yet nearly $1.5 million still remains available for those in need.

Administered by the Heart of Florida United Way, Project CARE offers households in danger of losing utility service up to $500 during a one-year period. Customers can determine their eligibility three ways:

  • Visit HFUW.org/211 and fill out online form
  • Dial 2-1-1 to speak with a representative
  • ‘Text their zip code to 898-211

“We understand that these are unprecedented times with unexpected hardships, which is why we’re offering relief and payment plans to help our community,” said Clint Bullock, General Manager & CEO. “With nearly $1.5 million in bill-payment assistance still available, I’m encouraging OUC customers who are in need of support to apply as soon as possible.”

In addition to Project CARE, OUC offers several payment options, including OUC Power Pass (a pay-as-you-go option for customers). The utility will waive the first month’s customer charge for new Power Pass enrollees and apply existing deposits to outstanding balances. Payment arrangements have been extended up to 12 months in some cases. For more information on assistance options, visit www.ouc.com/assistance.

The $12.1 million relief package approved in April also included $7.5 million to lower electric fuel rates for May bills; $1.5 million for utility bill-payment assistance to qualified small businesses; and $500,000 toward the first month’s customer charge for new OUC Power Pass customers.