May 16, 2023
Residents who owe money to either Cleveland Public Power or Cleveland Water and who are on a payment plan will see relief soon.
Council sponsored and passed legislation at a recent meeting (5/15) to spend $2 million to help these qualifying residents pay outstanding balances on their utility bills.
The program, which is going into effect immediately, does not set limits for the amount of money a person owes, nor for the amount of money a person makes, to qualify for the program. However, the utility debt cannot be forgiven if it is from before March 2020 and only residential ratepayers are eligible.
Those who are already on a payment plan should receive a letter from the city notifying them of the program.
The Utility Amnesty Program, first sponsored by Councilman Brian Kazy who is also the chair of Council's Utilities Committee, will be funded by a portion of Cleveland’s $512 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
“This is what ARPA was intended to do, help people get back on their feet,” Councilman Kazy said during a press conference on the initiative.
The program aims to help 1,200 households who owe money to Cleveland Public Power and 1,400 households who owe money to Cleveland Water.
Cleveland City Council President Blaine A. Griffin noted the program helps both the city-owned utility get the debt off its books and remove a financial burden for people in the city who fell behind on their bills during the pandemic.