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PUBLISHED: 10:43 AM on Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Assembly expands energy relief to assist more households
JUNEAU - The City and Borough of Juneau expanded the Juneau Unplugged Energy Relief Program to include "stair-stepped" aid for families with 250 percent and 300 percent of income guidelines.

Assembly members had previously set aside three million dollars to aid the most vulnerable population. The funds were allocated to United Way of Southeast Alaska who subcontracted with Catholic Community Service to help families, child care facilities, and human service nonprofits with grants.

Funds were also designated to Juneau Economic Development Council to issue low interest loans to businesses that were the hardest hit by the estimated 500% increase in electrical rates. According to City and Borough Manager Rod Swope, "It appears that this expanded program can be funded within the original three million dollar budget."

The relief program was originally set up to fund 70 percent of the increase to families and households that fell within 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The Assembly has now authorized an expanded version that will allow families at the 250 percent level to receive assistance at 50 percent of the increased cost per kilowatt hour and households at the 300 percent income level would be eligible for 30 percent assistance.

Household 200% 250% 300%

1 $26,000 $32,500 $39,000

2 $35,000 $43,750 $52,500

3 $44,000 $55,000 $66,000

4 $53,000 $66,250 $79,500

5 $62,000 $77,500 $93,000

6 $71,000 $88,750 $106,500

7 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000

8 •$89,000 $111,250 $133,500

* For each additional person add $4,500 to the annual income

** This is the income level served by the current program.

A rough estimate shows an increase of 3,000 more households would be available to receive grants using these income guidelines. The total program is designed to serve approximately 6,000 of Juneau's nearly 12,000 households.

AEL&P customer accounts are credited based on an application that includes a copy of the AEL&P electric bill received after May 16, 2008, a copy of the top sheet of an individual's 1040 tax return from 2007, and a filled out application available on line at www.juneau.com, at any public library, the AEL&P office or by calling the program headquarters at 463-6130. Payments are made directly to the electric company to be applied to the bills. Individuals will not have to reapply each month because the program is working with AEL&P to make payments for subsequent months depending on how long it takes to bring get the hydropower back on line.

"Up to 6000 families are eligible by our estimates," says Rosemary Hagevig, Executive Director of Catholic Community Service who is managing the program. "This will go a long way to helping those most in need."

To download an application visit us online at www.capitalcityweekly.com


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