LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — More than 41,000 Southern Nevadans who are in arrears in their payments to NV Energy due to the loss of employment or other economic effects stemming from the pandemic have had their bills paid for by Clark County with the use of federal CARES Act funding.
The County processed a payment of $14.7 million on behalf of the customers Tuesday. The move follows a similar effort by the County on behalf of some 15,700 Southern Nevada residents in October.
Tuesday’s action benefits 20,421 residents of unincorporated Clark County at a cost of $6.2 million, 12,006 residents of the city of Las Vegas ($5.7 million), 4,697 residents of Henderson ($2.2 million), 4,128 residents of North Las Vegas ($636,000), and 150 residents of Laughlin in unincorporated Clark County ($39,000).
“The pandemic has been incredibly hard on the residents of Southern Nevada,” said Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “Our families are struggling and they shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their power bills. This effort will provide real help to the families who need it most.”
Residents’ accounts will be credited if they have a past due balance stemming from the pandemic. The credit will be reflected on the affected customers’ bills. The funds will not be used to pay for late fees or penalties associated with delinquent bills and NV Energy has agreed to forgive such fees and penalties for bills paid for with the County’s Coronavirus Relief Funds. NV Energy will begin crediting accounts immediately and eligible customers will see the assistance payment on their next billing statement or on MyAccount at nvenergy.com/myaccount. Processing may take up to three business days.
“NV Energy appreciates the support and leadership of Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick and her fellow Commissioners in providing CARES Act assistance directly to Clark County residents who are struggling with their utility bills,” said Doug Cannon, NV Energy President and Chief Executive Officer. “We hope this funding, in addition to the bill credit provided earlier this year by NV Energy, eases the financial burden of these customers who have been impacted by COVID-19, and brings them some relief.”
In March, Clark County and Southern Nevada cities declared a state of emergency related to the pandemic. In April, unemployment statewide soared to 28.2 percent, the highest rate ever reported by any state, even exceeding unemployment during the Great Depression. In May, the Clark County area ranked worst in the nation among similar urban areas with an unemployment rate of 29 percent, though it has fallen to 10.1 percent for November.
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Nevadans are struggling to pay their household expenses, including utility bills, officials said. A Rand Corp. survey found almost one-third of middle-class families are having a difficult time, while half of respondents who earn less than $25,000 annually are having a hard time paying their bills. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of people struggling to put enough food on the table. In Nevada, 11 percent reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days, according to the Household Pulse Survey for the week ending Sept. 14.