BY CAT OZMENT
I wrote to the community and the Los Alamos County Board of Public Utilities (BPU) last week about the Utilities Assistance Program (UAP), and I want to thank members of the public who reached out to BPU with support for strengthening the program. I want to also thank DPU staff for their swift response.
Even before Wednesday’s BPU meeting, DPU staff who administer the UAP updated the online application to show simpler requirements. They also updated their presentation with extra detail and deserve a huge thanks for their responsiveness.
Karen Kendall gave a fantastic presentation about the status of the program; anyone with questions can follow this link and start watching around 01:17:00. The Board members who spoke were curious and thoughtful and articulated a value of having a net to support people in Los Alamos struggling to pay their utility bills.
The bottom line is that donations are down and need is up, leaving the fund precariously low. The next most important takeaway is that there are a lot more households that qualify for assistance, and we will continue to see an increase in need. While there are still important changes we must make to strengthen an already robust program, unfortunately, we cannot take those next steps while donations lag behind support at the current levels.
If you’re able to make a contribution, please do. You can add a recurring donation to your monthly bill by filling out this form. You can donate in person at the customer service counter, or over the phone by calling the customer care center at (505) 662-8333. If you use the dropbox to pay your bill, you can add an extra check to support the program. I am grateful to BPU and DPU for the prompt attention they have given this matter. I’m grateful to everyone who donates to this fund. And I’m especially grateful to live in a place where supporting our neighbors is a community value in both policy and practice.