City Council: Electricity Not Free or Forgiven

Electricity bills, Census forms, and blighted property were among the topics addressed at the Winnfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 12.

Winnfield Mayor George Moss explained that many Winnfield residents had been thanking him for not being required to pay their electric bill during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Moss clarified that the bills are not forgiven, but customers were spared from being cut off. In June, however, customers’ services will be cut off if they have not caught up on their bill. Any previous charges must be caught up and paid in full along with their current bill. Council members urge Winnfield residents, “Start saving now.” City departments have resumed operating fully at their normal business hours. Customers are encouraged to start making incremental payments as soon as possible to get their bill caught up, although Mayor Moss said he “is working on getting some people some relief.” One councilperson stated that although everyone is battling hardships caused by COVID-19, “We still have to pay LEPA [Louisiana Energy and Power Authority].” Councilpersons are aware that some people still have not received a stimulus check or unemployment payment, and some have not been able to return to work. The Council plans to take clients “case-by-case,” but reiterate that Winnfield is not currently receiving free electricity. Although the late fee has been temporarily waived, the late fee will not be waived in June.

Mayor Moss reminded the public of the importance of completing the 2020 U.S. Census, as it is used for funding infrastructure, health care, etc. A major highlight for residents to be aware of is that although some did not receive a Census form in the mail, it is still possible to respond and be counted. Residents can go online or call in and select the option to proceed by address instead of using the reference number found on the envelope sent by mail. Councilperson Sarah Junkin stated that if everyone is counted, Winnfield’s status as a city could be regained, which would increase the quantity and size of grants for which Winnfield could qualify.

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