Elizabeth City North Carolina government officials will be doubling the amount of assistance money that the city makes available to help needy families pay their energy, heating, and utility bills during the coldest months of the North Carolina winter.
The City Council recently decided during a budget session that they will be increasing the amount of aid from $10,000 to $20,000. The funds will be provided to the Salvation Army to help customers with utility bills during the winter months of January and February. The Salvation Army manages the program and will provide the funds at no cost to the city. The additional $10,000 that will be provided to help pay heating bills will be taken from the cash balance in the city’s electric fund.
The additional aid was designed to help Elizabeth City customers who have the most difficulty paying for their electricity bills, particularly when they have to use large amounts of energy.
The additional utility and heating bill assistance is also in response to Elizabeth City’s higher utility costs. For example, the city has raised its electric rates 14 percent in August and another 4 percent in February. Those were vary large increases. In addition, sewer and water rates also were increased in February.
A wholesale cost increase to the city from its electric supplier, the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency, caused this 18 percent increase in electric rates. A bit of good news is that NCEMPA does not project any additional heating or electricity rate increases for at least one year timeframe.