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State program helps Vermonters pay overdue utility bills

COLCHESTER — Green Mountain Power is reaching out to customers to let them know they could qualify for free money from the state of Vermont that can help pay overdue utility bills tied to the pandemic.
More than 23,000 GMP customers have balances older than 60 days for service after the pandemic began — mostly residential customers.
Lawmakers created the Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance program using $8 million in federal COVID relief funds to help Vermonters pay overdue electric, telephone, water, and natural gas balances at least 60 days overdue that were caused by the pandemic. In the first month since the program was announced, fewer than 2,000 utility customers have applied, while tens of thousands of Vermonters would be eligible for assistance. The program is run by the Vermont Department of Public Service.
“We want customers to know we are here for them, that this money through the state program can help them get caught up, and the time to apply is now,” said ,” said Mary Morris, manager of Customer Care at GMP. “Tough economic times mean it is easier than ever to get behind on your bills, and it can be harder than ever to get caught up. We have suspended disconnections and taken several other steps since the pandemic to help customers, and we want to make sure everyone knows help is available.
The deadline to apply for assistance is Nov. 30. You can learn the details to see if you qualify for the Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance program and start the application online at the Vermont Department of Public Service: publicservice.vermont.gov or by calling 800-622-4496.

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