JEA to issue rebate to customers in May

The JEA Board of Directors approved the credit in an effort to help ease financial strain of the COVID-19 outbreak.

JEA sworn statements released

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The JEA Board of Directors on Friday approved a fuel credit for customers of the city-owned utility that will reduce the average residential electric bill by about $25.

The move comes as the economy continues to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The fuel credit will kick in for JEA customers in May and will be applied directly to the bill.

Four members of the board who attended the meeting unanimously approved the credit during an online video conference session that was open to the public.

“This is definitely something that is needed at this time and I want to commend the team,” board chair April Green said.

JEA said the approximately $27 million credit will come from the Fuel Stabilization Fund which is projected to be about 6% over the target goal.

The credit will result in a bill reduction of about $25 per average residential customer who uses 1,000 Kwh, according to JEA.

“During this pandemic, we believe that this is the right thing to do for our customers,” said interim Chief Financial Officer Joe Orfano.

JEA had previously suspended water and electric service disconnections for customers unable to pay their bills on time and waiving late fees.

Interim CEO Melissa Dykes also used the meeting to give an update on the utility’s response to the novel coronavirus.

As of Friday, all employees who are able to work from home are doing so with equipment and support, Dykes said. Those who cannot or practicing social distancing except in very limited circumstances where their work makes that impossible. JEA has staggered shifts for field crews and assigned diverse deployment sites to limit the size of employee gathering, she added.

Any JEA employees displaying COVID-19 symptoms receive priority screening at Duval County Department of Health and Mayo Clinic. As of Friday afternoon, Dykes said JEA has no confirmed coronavirus cases.

JEA has also implemented health and temperature screening at its Northside generating station and Dykes said it will begin screening employees Saturday. JEA plans to expand the screenings to other facilities down the road.

“On Monday, our credit card fees that are charged by a third-party vendor that handles our credit card payments will no longer be passed on to customers either,” Dykes said. “If customers have trouble paying their bills or need assistance, they’re encouraged to call 665-6000 and we’ll work with them both on connecting them with community resources that can provide assistance or by arranging for a payment plan.”

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Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.