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City offers utility bill relief

Suffolk Public Utilities on Thursday announced a program to help people with their water, sewer and wastewater charges who are experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic.

The HRUBS Utility Bill Pandemic Relief Program will become effective on Aug. 24, 2020. This program provides financial assistance for qualifying City of Suffolk customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to employment impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program provides financial assistance to qualifying Suffolk residents who are not able to meet the financial obligations of their monthly water and sewer bill. Assistance is dependent on the availability of funding and applicant qualifications.

  • Customers who are on water, sewer and wastewater could be eligible for up to $200 in assistance per billing period for four billing periods for a total amount of $800.
  • Customers who are on water service only could be eligible for up to $100 per billing period for four billing periods for a total amount of $400.
  • Customers who are on sewer and wastewater service only could be eligible for up to $100 per billing period for four billing periods for a total amount of $400.

The assistance does not have to be paid back, the city said.

To be considered for assistance, the applicant must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Applicant must be a City of Suffolk resident and have an active City of Suffolk HRUBS account.
  • Applicant must be listed as an account holder on the City of Suffolk HRUBS account. Multiple individuals within a household will not qualify.
  • Applicant’s inability to pay must be due to the impact of COVID-19 that resulted in a loss of employment, furlough, or a 50% or greater reduction in work hours.
  • Applicant must have an unpaid balance due from March 1, 2020, or later. Unpaid balances prior to March 1, 2020 are not eligible.
  • Applicant must have applied for unemployment benefits, or in the process of applying for unemployment benefits, and must provide supporting documentation of the application.

Application requirements include the following:

  • Completed assistance application.
  • Proof of unemployment, layoff, or significant reduction in work hours beginning March 1, 2020, or later. Acceptable proof consists of a valid award letter for unemployment benefits from the Virginia Employment Commission; valid award letter from self-employed individual through the CARES Act; verification of job loss from employer on letterhead confirming loss of employment, furlough, or a 50% or greater reduction in work hours; copy of most recent City of Suffolk HRUBS bill. Service address must match the address on the application, and on the proof of employment.

To obtain an online application, visit www.suffolkva.us/1471/COVID-19-Utility-Relief,  or call 757-514-7450 to obtain a paper application.