The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities today announced a new program to help residents who can’t pay their bills because of a financial hardship.
The program, in cooperation with the United Way of Wyandotte County, will help residents avoid disruption or provide for the restoration of utility services, according to a spokesman. It is for temporary financial hardships caused by unforeseen events.
The goal of the program is to help Wyandotte County residents offset a portion of their utility expenses (up to $500 annually) for specific hardship causes, including a health emergency, a change in employment or income status, a change in family composition or marital status, or unforeseen documented expenses. To be eligible, applicants must lack the funds to make their payment for BPU utility services due to one of these causes.
Applicants may not have had more than one late or missed payment in a 12-month period. Allowable expenditures can only be applied toward BPU water and electric utility services – and do not cover deposits, connections or reconnection fees. BPU will refer customers to the United Way of Wyandotte County, which will be serving as administrator of this program.
Applicants must also provide proof of eligibility, including proof of income or lack thereof, a verification of expenses, as well as verification that the applicant is a resident of the address listed on the utility bill.
The BPU has placed $100,000 in a fund in its budget for this program, a spokesman said. The program announced today will be separate from existing programs that help customers with their utility bills. Utility assistance programs run by Cross-Lines Community Outreach and Catholic Charities are different from this program. Today’s program focuses on one-time hardship assistance.
“As a not-for-profit community owned utility, we understand that unplanned events do occur and that at times our customers may have difficulty making ends meet,” stated Don Gray, general manager of BPU, in a news release. “The new BPU hardship payment service program will help those who have trouble meeting their utility expenses with a one-time hardship assistance payment to ensure continued utility service.”
The BPU Customer Hardship Payment Service Program is only available to Wyandotte County residents, but stands to help hundreds of customers that may find themselves in financial trouble due to unforeseen circumstances, a spokesman said.
Interested applicants may contact BPU customer service for more information, 913-573-9190.