JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is urging customers who may qualify for assistance with unpaid utility bills to apply to a program grant received by the City of Jamestown as part of its COVID-19 Response.
According to Jamestown BPU General Manager David Leathers, support provided through the grant possibly could pay a qualifying customer’s entire BPU utility bill.
Eligibility for the program includes: receiving no assistance from the Department of Social Services for utilities; having been current on BPU bills as of March, 2020; and having received a termination notice from the BPU.
“We understand that help from this grant program is on a first-come, first-served basis,” says Leathers. “Customers with overdue BPU bills related to the Pandemic are urged to apply for this assistance while it is available to them.”
The BPU Assistance Program resulted from a Community Development Block Grant awarded to the City’s Department of Development. Information about the program and an application for assistance are posted on the home page of the Jamestown BPU website at www.jamestownbpu.com and in hard copy in the BPU’s Customer Service Office, 92 Steele Street.
Applications also are posted on the City of Jamestown’s website at www.jamestownny.gov and in hard copy in the Department of Development at City Hall.
“We are pleased that the City successfully procured this grant money to help our residents catch up on utility bills left unpaid due to COVID-19 issues,” added Jamestown City Mayor Eddie Sundquist. “Residents are encouraged to check into this program and apply if they think they may be eligible.”
Completed applications should be submitted to the Department of Development, Jamestown City Hall, 200 East Third Street, Jamestown.
Department of Development staff will review all applications in the order in which they are received.
Questions about the program may be directed to personnel at the BPU and at the Jamestown City Department of Development. BPU Customer Service Supervisor Heather Flowers may be reached by phone at 661-1663 or by email: hflowers @ jamestownbpu.com.
Stephanie Wright of the City Department of Development may be contacted by phone at 483-7654.
The BPU chose to suspend disconnections of service in March as part of the utility’s response to COVID-19. The State of New York shortly followed by restricting utility shut-offs throughout the State. At some point in the future, the State will lift this order and utilities such as the BPU will have to resume disconnections for lack of payment.
BPU officials urge customers to take additional steps to prevent utility shut-offs such as calling the BPU Customer Service Office at 661-1660 to request payment agreements. Customers also may apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) at 753-4385; for help through the Chautauqua County Social Services Department at 661-8200; and through the Salvation Army at 664-4108 for help through the Johnson/BPU Good Neighbor Fund.