EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene Water and Electric Board is keeping the lights on for everyone during these uncertain times but say their customer needs may soon outpace their resources.
EWEB spokesperson Joe Harwood said they have temporarily suspended their service shutoffs and late fees for people who can't pay. They are still encouraging people to make payments if they can to avoid a large overdue balance.
They have also tripled the amount of money in their bill assistance program to $240,000, Harwood said. That program gives people a $260 credit for their bills, but Harwood said at the start of the month, all those funds were allocated in the first hour.
"The demand is unprecedented. It's off the charts," Harwood said. "We're looking at options. We're asking for help on the state and federal levels to help our customers."
Ellen Edmunson said she's still paying her bills and feels for those who are struggling.
"I hope that people who maybe have more could help out," Edmunson said. It is just a quandary for all. I just can't even imagine not having power."
EWEB has also expanded its bill assistance program to cover people who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic regardless of income. They are also deferring energy efficiency loan payments and are willing to work with customers who may not be able to pay the full bill.
While EWEB is not letting the public into their offices, payments can be placed at drop boxes on site. Payments can also still be made over the phone and online.