Oct 16 Update – Utility Disconnections

Rent, Electric, Etc. – Make the call

There are many people facing challenges catching up on rent and/or utility bills. There are a variety of programs to help you, but you have to make the call. If you do not know who to go to, contact me if you are in my district. If you’re not, contact your local Representative. You can also call 211. The important part is that the customer has to be proactive. You have to make the call. Please do NOT use Facebook messages. Many of these get filtered. Contact me directly – www.steve4nh.com ~ Steve

Utility shutoff notices begin going out to Granite Staters

MANCHESTER, N.H. —

Several thousand utility customers around the state will soon receive shutoff notices in their mailboxes after the lifting of a moratorium on shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Utility officials said the shutoff notices are being sent out now.

“The residential customer disconnection notices began going out this week,” said Alec O’Meara, of Unitil. “I believe 1,000 letters were sent out this week.”

The next few weeks could be critical for families who have fallen behind on utility payments. Some were previously given leniency because of rules related to the coronavirus crisis.

“For the next few weeks, the moratorium has been lifted and there are people who could be faced with a disconnect, and that’s why it’s important to get ahold of community action agencies in the state,” said Ryan Clouthier, of Southern New Hampshire Services.

For many families, this type of financial stress is new. There are options, but people have to make the call. Eversource and Unitil have expanded payment options, and officials said they want to help.

“We are offering flexible payment options that our customers can call to spread out the remainder of their balance over 12 months, no money down, no fees and no interest,” said Kaitlyn Woods, of Eversource.

“If your income situation has changed, there are income-eligibility programs that may be available to you,” O’Meara said. “There are payment plans available to you. There are a variety of fees that can be waived.”

Community action partnerships work with utility companies to help families make payments, and they expect many more applications this year.

In the wake of the pandemic, community action partnerships statewide adjusted their income guidelines because many more New Hampshire families would likely need help.

“To give you an idea, for a family of four, that would be roughly $69,686,” Clouthier said.

The assistance money does not have to be repaid. It is first come, first served, so residents are advised to file their applications soon.

Winter Disconnection Rules for Electric and Gas Customers

During the winter months, there is increased protection for customers of electric and natural gas utilities. While customers can still be disconnected if they fail to make payments on their gas or electric bills, it is more difficult to be disconnected in the winter time.

From November 15 to March 31, an electric utility may not disconnect a customer’s service:

  • If the customer does not use electric service for heating and the balance owed for service provided is less than $225;
  • If the customer does not use gas service for heating and the balance owed for service provided is less than $125;
  • If the customer has electric, gas, or steam heat, the utility may not disconnect service if the balance owed for service provided is less than $450.

Utilities must seek commission approval before disconnecting the service of residential customers known to be 65 years or older and customers with a known financial hardship.

If you think you qualify for financial hardship status as defined below, please contact your utility for further assistance.

Section Puc 1202.10 “Financial hardship” means a residential customer has provided the utility with evidence of current enrollment of the customer or the customer’s household in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Electric Assistance Program, the Neighbor Helping Neighbor Program, the Link-Up and Lifeline Telephone Assistance Programs, their successor programs or any other federal, state or local government program or government funded program of any social service agency which provides financial assistance or subsidy assistance for low income households based upon a written determination of household financial eligibility.

In addition to the protections described above, no residential customer can be disconnected during the winter period for non-payment of a deposit or portion of a deposit.

If you are having difficulty keeping up with your bills during the winter months, please contact your local utility. Balanced billing or budget billing arrangements are available from most utilities, and payment arrangements are available from all utilities.

https://www.puc.nh.gov/consumer/winterdisconnectionrules.htm

CVS & Walgreens COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Agreement to Protect Seniors in Nursing HomesThe Trump Administration’s top priority throughout the Coronavirus pandemic is protecting our nation’s most vulnerable, and that includes providing our seniors with a safe and effective vaccine.

On Friday, October 16, President Trump  announced the Administration is providing free distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to seniors in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other settings. The efforts are being coordinated through Operation Warp Speed in partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Both companies will handle every aspect of the incredibly important task of getting vaccines to our seniors and caregivers: getting the vaccines to the facilities, administering the vaccines, and tracking all the data we need to ensure we’re safely vaccinating the vulnerable.

Main Street Relief Fund

Governor Chris Sununu has authorized the allocation and expenditure of CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (“flex funds”) to provide economic support to New Hampshire small businesses suffering from business interruptions as a result of COVID-19.

Main Street Relief Fund 2.0

Governor Chris Sununu has authorized the allocation and expenditure of $100 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (“flex funds”) for MSRF 2.0 in order to continue providing economic support to New Hampshire small businesses suffering from business interruptions as a result of COVID-19.

MSRF 2.0 supports both (1) businesses that did not receive grants from the initial round of MSRF or the General Assistance & Preservation (GAP) Fund, and (2) businesses that received grants of less than the maximum $350,000 from the initial round of MSRF or the GAP Fund, if eligible according to the criteria described below. Businesses that received a Self Employed Livelihood Fund (SELF) grant are not eligible for MSRF 2.0.

The $100 million MSRF 2.0 will be shared among new recipients and prior recipients of MSRF and GAP Fund grants using a pro-rata formula based on gross receipts losses adjusted for other COVID-19-related funding received from all sources, including all grants received from GOFERR flex funds programs. MSRF 2.0 grants will be offset by GOFERR program grants previously received on a dollar-for-dollar basis, including, particularly, from the initial round of MSRF and the GAP Fund. The maximum amount received from MSRF 2.0 cannot exceed $350,000, including grants received from the initial round of MSRF and the GAP Fund.

Important Dates & Timeline:

  • Application Period: October 19, 2020 – October 30, 2020
  • Deadline to Submit Completed Application: 4:00 PM on October 30, 2020

More information at https://www.goferr.nh.gov/covid-expenditures/main-street-relief-fund

New Hampshire 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Summary Report

(data updated as of October 16, 2020 – 9:00 AM)

Number of Persons with COVID-19 19,514
Recovered8,155 (86%)
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19465 (5%)
Total Current COVID-19 Cases894
Persons Who Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19761 (8%)
Current Hospitalizations16
Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)2305,815
Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Antibody Laboratory Tests231,675
Persons with Specimens Submitted to NH PHL49,373
Persons with Test Pending at NH PHL31,328
Persons Being Monitored in NH (approximate point in time)4,050

1 Includes specimens positive at any laboratory and those confirmed by CDC confirmatory testing.
2 Includes specimens tested at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL), LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Mako, certain hospital laboratories, the University of New Hampshire and their contracted laboratory, and those sent to CDC prior to NH PHL testing capacity.
3 Includes specimens received and awaiting testing at NH PHL. Does not include tests pending at commercial laboratories.

NH DHHS COVID-19 Update – October 16, 2020

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued the following update on the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

On Friday, October 16, 2020, DHHS announced 90 new positive test results for COVID-19, for a daily PCR test positivity rate of 1.1%. Today’s results include 64 people who tested positive by PCR test and 26 who tested positive by antigen test. There are now 894 current COVID-19 cases diagnosed in New Hampshire.

Several cases are still under investigation. Additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates. Of those with complete information, there are sixteen individuals under the age of 18 and the rest are adults with 51% being female and 49% being male. The new cases reside in Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (25), Rockingham (19), Merrimack (15), Strafford (6), Cheshire (4), Grafton (2), Belknap (1), Coos (1), and Sullivan (1) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (10) and Nashua (6).

No new hospitalized cases were reported. There are currently 16 individuals hospitalized with COVID-

  1. Seven of the new cases had no identified risk factors. Community-based transmission continues to occur in the State and has been identified in all counties. Of those with complete risk information, most of the cases have either had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or are associated with an outbreak setting.

DHHS has also announced two additional deaths related to COVID-19. We offer our sympathies to the family and friends.

  • 1 female resident of Hillsborough County, 60 years of age and older
  • 1 male resident of Hillsborough County, 60 years of age and older

In New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 9,514 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed with 761 (8%) of those having been hospitalized.

At least 5 new coronavirus deaths and 77 new cases were reported in New Hampshire on Oct. 15. Over the past week, there have been an average of 78 cases per day, an increase of 101 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

Good to see Sullivan at the bottom again ~ Steve

About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his fifth term. Rep. Smith currently represents Acworth, Charlestown, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, and Washington. Rep. Smith is the Chairman of the Sullivan County Delegation.
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