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Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

RPU receives an additional $250,000 in Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to help small business customers with utility bills

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) announced today that an additional $250,000 in funding from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) allocated to the city of Rochester, is available to go towards helping local small business customers pay their utility bills.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act enacted on March 27, 2020, has appropriated $150 billion to the CRF, which can be used towards paying customer utility bills that incurred during the period of March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Rochester has already received over $8.8 million CRF dollars from the State.

The initial launch date for this program was August 4, 2020 and was a plan approved by the Rochester City Council to work with qualifying small business customers to utilize $500,000 for utility bill payments.

In addition to providing assistance to locally owned small businesses, the program also has designated funding for women, minority, and veteran owned local businesses (WMBE).

“We are excited to be able to offer an additional $250,000 to help local small businesses with their utility bills. To date RPU has been able to assist 333 business locations that were impacted by the pandemic. We continue to strongly encourage all RPU small business customers that meet the criteria for application to apply for assistance,” said Krista Boston, RPU Director of Customer Relations. 

Applications must be submitted for approval by October 16, 2020.

Full program details, applications, and eligibility requirements can be found on the RPU website at www.rpu.org.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers. Water customers number more than 40,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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RPU to partner with the city of Rochester, Olmsted County and Three Rivers Community Action to provide utility bill relief for residential customers

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) announced today a partnership with the city of Rochester, Olmsted County, and Three Rivers Community Action to provide utility bill relief for qualifying residential customers.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act enacted on March 27, 2020, has appropriated $150 billion to the CRF (Coronavirus Relief Funds), which can be used towards paying customer utility bills that incurred during the period of March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Rochester has already received over $8.8 million CRF dollars from the State. The Rochester City Council approved a plan for RPU to work with qualifying residential customers to utilize $187,500 for utility bill relief.

The important first step for customers to take is to work with local partners Olmsted County and Three Rivers Community Action to take advantage of their financial resources. This is necessary because the RPU funds are intended to be a supplement to the County or Three Rivers programs for those that do not qualify for their assistance. In order to get utility assistance from RPU – an application to the County or Three Rivers should be made before an application to RPU. The County and Three Rivers have new sources of funding that may be more flexible to help cover additional costs such as deposits and delinquent expenses for utilities. Once applications are submitted with both of those partners, an application can be submitted through RPU for the utility bill relief. The application, program details, and FAQs can be found on the RPU website (www.rpu.org).

“We’ve listened to our customers and understand that tough financial choices are having to be made by families right now. RPU staff are ready to help our residential customers who could use the financial support available to help pay their RPU bill,” said Krista Boston, RPU Director of Customer Relations.

The launch date for this program is September 8, 2020. Applications must be submitted for approval by October 16, 2020. Due to limited funding, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Full program details, applications, and eligibility requirements can be found on the RPU website at

https://www.rpu.org/my-account/financial-assistance.php

Three Rivers CARES Fund

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

New assistance programs available to help cover housing-related expenses for individuals and families impacted by COVID-19 Olmsted County COVID-19

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

ROCHESTER, Minn. – New programs are being implemented by Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance to help individuals and families adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: the Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program and the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)

Funds will assist those impacted by job loss, reduced work hours, illness, or other COVID-19 related circumstances. Assistance will cover past due rent payments, mortgage payments, homeowner association dues, contract for​ deed payments, homeowner insurance payments, utility payments, ​or other housing-related expenses that incurred after March 1, 2020. 

“We encourage any Olmsted County resident who has been impacted by the pandemic and unable to make housing-related payments to apply for both programs,” said Olmsted County Director of Family Support and Assistance Corrine Erickson. “Depending on the circumstances of the request, our eligibility specialists will help determine which program best meets the needs of the situation.”

Erickson says this is a way Olmsted County can help improve the quality of life for Olmsted County residents during a very challenging time.

“We’re here to serve families and to help the most vulnerable populations in our community,” explained Erickson. “Not only will these programs help these individuals, but it will also help keep our landlords whole.”

Anyone eligible for this assistance is encouraged to apply for both programs now. There are two different applications to be completed:

Eligibility details

You must be an Olmsted County resident, meet income guidelines, and have a qualifying expense that is past due because of the public health emergency due to unemployment, loss of income, illness, or other COVID-19 related issue.

Eligible expenses

COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) funds may be used only for past due housing- and utility-related expenses. Only past due amounts incurred since March 1, 2020 will be considered. To learn more about CHAP, visit the Minnesota Housing website.

Payment processing

Olmsted County eligibility specialists will review all applications, verify proof of income and past due expense(s), and interview the head of household by phone. If an individual or household has a qualifying expense, funds must be paid directly to the landlord, mortgage company, utility company, or any other identified entity to which the payment is owed. Assistance WILL NOT be paid directly to individuals or households.

Application deadline

Applications for both programs are being accepted now and eligible individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

How to apply

  • To apply online for Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance, visit ApplyMN. If you do not wish to apply online, you may download the application and return it to Olmsted County by: 
  • Emailing PAQ@co.olmsted.mn.us.
  • Mailing them to 2117 Campus Dr SE Suite 100 Rochester, MN 55904.
  • Dropping them in the yellow drop box in the 2117 Campus Dr. SE parking lot.
  • To apply for COVID-19 Housing Assistance, visit www.211unitedway.org or text “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211. You may also call 211 (Toll free: 1-800-543-7709).

Note: No matter how you apply, it is important to provide Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance with proof of household income for the last 30 days and verification of the past due expense. 

Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance contact information

  • Call 507-328-6500 (bi-lingual staff and interpreters are available).
  • Email questions and completed documents to PAQ@co.olmsted.mn.us.
  • Fax: 507-328-7956.
  • Mail: 2117 Campus Dr. SE Suite 100, Rochester, MN 55904.

Please note: The 2117 Campus Dr. SE building is currently closed to public access, but staff are available by phone. If you have any questions, please contact 507-328-6500 or email PAQ@co.olmsted.mn.us.  

The Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program is funded by county, state, and federal dollars allocated to Olmsted County through several sources including the Minnesota Housing COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program; Olmsted County Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding; as well as other County Emergency Assistance allocations. 

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About Olmsted County

Olmsted County is the eighth largest county in the state of Minnesota with eight cities (Rochester being the largest), 18 townships and approximately 150,000 residents (2016 census data). The county is governed by seven individuals elected to serve on the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, and county services are supported by nearly 1,300 Olmsted County government employees working to provide the foundation of a vibrant community. For more information, visit www.olmstedcounty.com.   

Limited funding is still available for small business utility support

Friday, August 21st, 2020

RPU is continuing its effort to reach out to small business customers in Rochester. Limited funding is still available to help offset the impact of the pandemic.  A utility bill credit of 25% of the average annual bill may be possible before October 15th.

The response for financial support from small businesses has grown to nearly $350,000 in utility bill credits.  Small business customers are encouraged to get their applications in as soon as possible to take advantage of this limited help.

Small businesses that fall under the definition of a targeted business owned by women, minority or veterans are highly encouraged to get their applications in soon.