BISMARCK, N.D. -- Additional assistance may be available to reimburse individuals for high electricity bills as a result of running residential sump and water pumps this spring and summer. The North Dakota Division of Emergency Management, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have expanded benefits under the Individual Family Grant Program (IFG) to cover the additional costs.
Those individuals living in any of the 42 counties and four Indian reservations under the current disaster declaration who have water and sump pumps may apply. The period eligible for reimbursement is March 1999 through July 1999. Property owners must submit previous electricity bills for this period beginning in 1997, 1998 and the current year. For those individuals who do not have copies of past billing statements, they can get them by contacting their utility provider.
Additionally, applicants will be required to sign a declaration that the utility costs were in fact the result of running water and sump pumps in their primary residence during the March through July time frame.
People wishing to apply for this reimbursement must first register for disaster assistance by calling FEMA's teleregistration number at 1-800-462-9029. For those who have already registered for assistance they may call the IFG Hotline at 1-800-472-2911 for application information.
"What we will do is compare the costs for these past periods to their current billing and then pay the eligible difference," said Ken Jarolimek grant coordinating officer for the North Dakota Division of Emergency Management.
Additional costs of $50 or more in the reporting period will be considered for reimbursement. Costs less than $50 are considered minimal and are not eligible for reimbursement under the IFG program.
"We understand that increased electricity bills due to continual pumping of basements is another hardship for many North Dakotans," said Lesli Rucker, federal coordinating officer. "This additional assistance should benefit many who have fixed incomes and are already dealing with additional expenses related to this disaster."
State Coordinating Officer Adjutant General Keith Bjerke also expressed his appreciation to the utility providers for assisting in providing service records to the many consumers who have been affected by increased electricity bills. "I know this requires additional administrative workloads on the utility providers," said Bjerke. "However, this demonstrates the great cooperation between the public and private sectors in helping residents recover from this disaster."