Energy Assistance Office Gives Update on $1,000 Utility Support Payment
By Joe Morey
The Energy Assistance Office has announced that the $1,000 utility support payment previously announced on Dec. 31st, would begin with an application process on Monday, Feb. 7, but payment to utility companies may not be processed until March 1st.
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) elected to provide a COVID-19 Family Utility Support Payment to LCO Tribal Member households located within the Tribe's Service Area (Sawyer County) in the amount of $1,000 back in late December, to help with heating and electric, but since that time, the Tribe is being awarded a $1.7 million grant to address homelessness and utility support for low income households on the Reservation. Details of how the new grant funds affect the previous allocation is still being worked out, but in a nutshell, money from the grant will be used for those who qualify, which will save money originally dedicated to the program from the TGB to use in other areas benefitting tribal membership.
LCO Sec-Treasurer Tweed Shuman asked for patience, stating help is on the way which will definitely be much-needed with the very cold January we have experienced.
Shuman reported in December that as part of the application process, tribal members living within the Reservation and Sawyer County will have to also apply for Energy Assistance through the Tribal Office program, but even if accepted through Energy Assistance, they will also receive the ARPA utility assistance.
The TGB recognizes that Tribal Member households have experienced higher energy costs due to rising prices.
The Utility Support Payment will be made directly to the vendor(s) of your choice and is limited to one benefit per Tribal Member household. Multiple applications for one household will not be accepted and will delay your utility support payment.