Clallam County provides relief funds to PUD customers

Clallam County commissioners have allocated federal COVID-19 relief funds to the Clallam County Public Utility District for residential utility assistance.

The $45,200 sub-recipient agreement with the PUD was the latest in a series of county-administered Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants to local nonprofits and public agencies for needs related to the pandemic.

Commissioners Mark Ozias, Bill Peach and Randy Johnson voted unanimously to approve the agreement on Aug. 11.

The PUD will use the funds to award credits of $75 to $375 to residential customers who have incurred a financial hardship due to COVID-19 such as a job loss, illness or reduced work hours.

In an Aug. 3 work session, PUD Finance Manager-Treasurer Sean Worthington told county commissioners that the PUD would not share personal information about customers who receive the utility credits.

Clallam County PUD serves utility customers in unincorporated areas and those within the cities of Sequim and Forks.

The city of Port Angeles, which has its own electric utility, established utility and rent payment assistance programs in March. The city is expected to receive $89,900 in county-directed CARES Act funding for rent, mortgage and utility assistance later this month.

County commissioners had previously approved a $214,900 payment to Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) for rental and mortgage assistance during COVID-19.

Clallam County received a total of $4.18 million in CARES Act funding. The money was allocated around six priority areas — public health, business support, rental and utility assistance, support for the homeless population, child care and food security.

In other COVID-related action last week, county commissioners approved a proclamation recognizing public health officials and volunteers.

County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank and Undersheriff Ron Cameron have been leading the county’s response to COVID-19.

“The entire emergency management team has been working tirelessly for five months to coordinate an effective emergency response,” the proclamation reads, “and dozens of critical community volunteers have provided invaluable service in support of these efforts.”

The proclamation encourages all county residents to wear a mask in public, limit social interactions, practice good hygiene and stay home when able.