COLUMBIA CITY – Northeastern REMC, a member-owned electric cooperative powering six counties in Northeast Indiana, launched a way for neighbors to help other neighbors. When COVID-19 started impacting northeast Indiana in March, Northeastern REMC (NREMC) created a way to allow the local community to contribute monetarily to help cover other members’ electric bills. The “Northeastern Neighbor Aid” fund launched after people reached out asking for a way to help those in need.
Now, six weeks later, more than $7,000 has been donated for those who are unable to pay their electric bills. Donations have come from close to 200 people so far including NREMC members, employees and the board of directors.
“The unemployment rate has reached unprecedented numbers, which means we are seeing more and more families struggling to pay monthly bills,” said Eric Jung, CEO of Northeastern REMC. He continued, “Due to the generosity of our community, more people will be able to put money towards other essentials while we all weather this together.”
“We hope to see even more people step up to rally around those going through tough times,” said Tom Western, Chairman of NREMC’s board of directors. “After the first round of donations are distributed next week, the fund will be significantly depleted, but our members will still need help in the coming months as well.”
Last month, NREMC temporarily suspended disconnecting people who were unable to pay their electric bills as an initial response to help the community. “Pausing disconnects was the right thing to do. During this time, a family should not have to choose between buying groceries and paying their electric bill,” said Jung.
The first round of bill credits from the money raised will be distributed early next week. Members who have fallen behind due to COVID-19-related hardships can expect to see bill credits as early as their May electric bills.
Those wanting to contribute to the Northeastern Neighbor Aid fund can do so at nremc.com/NeighborAid.