• The Star Staff

Governor: $20 million grant to help low-income families pay electric bill is under evaluation

By The Star Staff

Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced Monday that a $20 million grant award to help low-income families in Puerto Rico pay their electric power bills during the COVID-19 public health emergency is being evaluated.

Participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN by its Spanish acronym) will be eligible for the aid if they document their recent electricity bills and their needs, and provide an ID. The aid will be provided through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

“These resources help low-income families have the necessary support to cover their basic needs given the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought,” Vázquez Garced said. “It’s our priority to continue offering all aid available to our families in this public health emergency.”

Family Secretary Orlando López Belmonte said that to ease the requests for the power subsidy, any Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) client who is interested must call 311 or log into pr.gov. Likewise, candidates can also make a request via e-mail to ayudaenergia@familia.pr.gov, in no more than 15 days, along with the most recent electric power bill and a valid ID.

“The assigned funds will be awarded through the Energy Crisis and Energy Subsidiary category to families that live under the 150 percent poverty level established by the federal government and that meet the requirements for the service in demand,” López Belmonte said.

Through the aforementioned category, the program offers economic aid to low-income families with high energy consumption that comply with initial requirements for gross income and family composition, and have a suspension or disconnection warning on their electric power account. Each family could get up to $900 in benefits, depending on the extent to which the account is in arrears. Meanwhile, any family that is not under the TANF or PAN programs, but are eligible due to their gross income, can request the aid.

“In case any of the [family] members is not an American citizen, the petitioner must submit a status declaration from this member,” the press release said. “Family members must have an active account with PREPA at the moment the aid is released.”

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