By Erica Madison
Budget cuts have forced the city to cut a lot of services, but there are still resources to help low income Alamedans with their electricity bill. However a recent report reveals, these programs aren’t helping as many people as it could.
On Sept. 21, Energy Management Supervisor Meredith Owens presented a report on low income programs for Alameda Municipal Power customers (AMP). The report stems from a request from the Public Utilities Board, for an update on available low income programs.
The report revealed that there are currently three programs available for low income AMP customers who are having financially difficulty in paying their electricity bill. All of which have been around for a decade or two.
The newest program is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), which was started in 2000. The program is funded by the AMP, but administered by Red Cross.
For customers who qualify for the EAP, the program offers continuous financial assistance, as well as a 25 percent bill subsidy. So far the program has helped 345 AMP customers annually. However , the maximum amount of people allowed in the program is 360. The 25 percent subsidy has helped AMP customers save an average of $136 a year. The total cost to run the program is $80,000 annually.
Another program funded by the AMP and administered through Red Cross is the Energy Assistance through Support Effectiveness (EASE). This program annually helps 125 AMP customers save on average, $90 a year. The maximum enrollment for the program is 180 people annually.
This program could help another 55 people save up to $200 a year.