October 23, 2013 | Vol. 25 Edition 43

Energy credit program readies for applicants

Valdez residents to receive $550 off energy bills

The snow is barely creeping down the mountains in Valdez, but residents that pay either fuel or electric bills should keep an open eye towards the a late Christmas present from the Valdez City Council, as the registration date for the city sponsored energy credit opens for applicants a week from this coming Friday.

The popular – and voluntary - energy assistance program pays a one-time $550 credit towards energy bills for all eligible Valdez households. It is not a needs-based program or a charity.

Registration opens Friday, November 1 and is open until the end-of-business day on Tuesday, December 31. Only one credit per household is allowed. To sign up, applicants must have a valid utility bill, for Copper Valley Electric Association, or one of the two fuel delivery companies in Valdez. The credit can be applied to electric or fuel bills, or split between the two. The residence and accounts must be within the city limits of Valdez and the person representing the household must have their name on the account. Only one credit per household is allowed.

Applicants can register at city hall during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

This year, extended hours will allow those pressed for time to apply until 7:30 p.m. on November 4, November 20, December 2, and December 31.

Still can’t make it to city hall to register in person?

Applicants can still register by mail according to a notice published in the Valdez Star, with some effort.

“Eligible households may register via US Mail as long as all required documentation is attached to a notarized registration form and all information is received in City Hall be December 31, 2013,” the notice said.

The form is available for download on the city website, as is additional information on the program, whether you apply in person or through mail.

There is no online registration at this time.

Renters that have utilities included in their lease payments and businesses are excluded from the program.

Anyone who owes past debts to the city will have the amount deducted from the payment made to energy providers according to city administration.

The city sends the checks directly to the fuel company of the applicants choice or Copper Valley Electric Association directly, usually by the end of January. The city payment can also be split evenly between a fuel provider and the electric association.

The program was created by council in 2008 after city coffers overflowed with increased oil tax wealth at a time when energy prices were reaching all-time highs. Backers saw the energy assistance as a sort of de facto property tax rebate.

The city council has funded the rebate account yearly in its overall budget.

Since its inception, the program has paid out over $2.5 million in assistance to Valdez households.

The city also uses the energy assistance application as a way to count the number of Valdez residents within the city limits, which city administration in turn uses to help determine the population in Valdez, which often conflicts with the population counted by the state.

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