Submitted by Orcas Power and Light Cooperative
The Orcas Power and Light Cooperative crew is still at work keeping the power on – while practicing safety precautions.
On March 20, the Board approved waiving late fees and has added funding to our payment assistance programs to support our membership. Through May 20, no one will be disconnected for an unpaid balance, but members are still responsible for paying their bills, eventually. For those in danger of unpaid bill balances building up, or businesses that have temporarily closed, please fill out a COVID-19 relief form and call us at 360-376-3500 to set up a payment plan.
COVID-19 relief measures will be reassessed every 60 days; current measures may be increased or discontinued, new measures may be added – all depending on the need and funding availability. OPALCO is doing all it can to help, but funding is limited and the Co-op’s bottom line is also impacted by the disruptions of the pandemic. Staff are reaching out for all available disaster assistance from local, state and federal sources.
Everyone is affected by this pandemic, but not everyone needs relief. If you are in a position to help, please consider making a charitable donation to the Orcas Island Community Foundation to support payment assistance programs. Members can also round up their bills or make one-time or recurring monthly payments to help our island communities get back on their feet.
Many businesses have had to close temporarily. The OPALCO Board will consider a package of business relief measures at the April 23 meeting: fill out a COVID-19 relief form to get started. Businesses can disconnect service by calling OPALCO; billing will stop and reconnection fees will be waived when it’s time to reopen. Please note that turning power off at the breaker does not stop your monthly service access charge. Businesses can apply for a monthly bill credit for 60 days (may be renewed if funding is available). The Small Business Administration has loans (some forgivable) available to impacted businesses.
We are only at the beginning of what looks like a long and bumpy ride. OPALCO’s top priority is your safety. The team is positioned to safely keep our electrical system running to support the health and safety of our island communities. Stay home. Stay safe. Check on your neighbors. Let us know if you need help with your bill. We’ll get through this together.
OPALCO is our member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving more than 11,400 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 97 percent greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937. Follow OPALCO @OrcasPower on Facebook and Twitter.