The year began on a high note with Emerald's Board of Directors having approved their 2020 operating budget nearly two months earlier. At that time, the budget was approved with no rate increase expected despite Emerald's ongoing recovery from the 2019 natural disaster: the most costly and damaging snowstorm in the utility's history.
After pursuing financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $3.2 million in reimbursement funds was received at the end of April, allowing Emerald to continue as planned, without a rate increase or additional financial impact to its customer-owners.
About the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading quickly and wreaking havoc on economies worldwide.
Emerald recognized the hardships caused by these events and immediately made changes to support the residents and businesses within its district. These changes included offering financial assistance, alternative payment programs, and extended payment arrangements for those who were struggling to pay their bill.
Emerald's Energy Services team discontinued in-home energy audits but worked hard to extend its energy-saving and money-saving offerings. With low-income energy efficiency programs and incentives for heat pump water heaters and traditional and ductless heat pump systems, our energy experts have helped many households reduce energy costs during a troubling time when saving money is critically important.
While much of Emerald’s staff has adjusted to working from home for the time being, the utility’s line and tree crews are working tirelessly to continue delivering reliable power. Their efforts to improve and strengthen the over-all electric system continue into 2021.
No Rate Increase This Year
Emerald is pleased to announce there will be no rate increase in 2021, for the second consecutive year. In November, Emerald's Board of Directors approved a 2021 operating budget, taking into consideration the pandemic and its effect on the economy, the devastating 2020 wildfires, and the countless families that have faced difficult times. The board opted to provide additional relief to customers by holding rates steady in 2021.