NorthWestern Energy announced Thursday it will donate $300,000 in aid to assist the communities the company serves that are struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company said it is in addition to NorthWestern Energy’s annual charitable donations, economic development and local sponsorships and employee match programs, which were more than $2 million in 2019.
“NorthWestern Energy is here to help our communities, our neighbors, during this extremely difficult time,” said NorthWestern Energy President and CEO Bob Rowe. “We activated our incident response structure in early March, and have been able to continue to provide safe, reliable service to our customers, including health care providers and first responders. Today we are announcing additional help for our customers as we continue to provide for our communities.”
Accoding to a press release, more than half of NorthWestern Energy’s aid will provide grants in the form of energy bill credits for small business customers. This will help free up resources for small businesses, many of which are severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as they continue their critical role in our economy and provide employment.
“This aid is available immediately,” Rowe said. “In addition, NorthWestern Energy will match donations our employees make to organizations that provide emergency assistance for members of our communities experiencing difficulty paying their residential energy bill.”
NorthWestern Energy is also donating to local COVID-19 relief efforts across their service territory. The organizations include: Headwaters RC&D in Butte, Mont.; United Way of Cascade County in Great Falls, Mont.; United Way of Hill County in Havre, Mont.; United Way of Flathead County in Kalispell, Mont. Billings Community Foundation in Billings, Mont.; Southwest Montana COVID-19 Response Fund in Bozeman, Mont.; United Way of Lewis and Clark County in Helena, Mont.; United Way of Missoula County in Missoula, Mont.; Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation in North Platte, Neb.; Covid-19 Community Compassion Fund in Grand Island, Neb.; Kearney Area Emergency Relief Fund in Kearney, Neb.; and One Sioux Falls Relief Fund in Sioux Falls, S.D. This donation will also provide assistance with residential energy bills in Yankton, Huron, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Brookings, Chamberlain/Kimball and Wagner, S.D.
NorthWestern Energy small business customers can find the grant application for a bill credit at northwesternenergy.com.
One of NorthWestern Energy’s first actions in early March was to voluntarily temporarily suspend most disconnections and late fees for households and small businesses facing hardship because of the pandemic. NorthWestern Energy customers who have questions about their service or bills can call 888-467-2669 or 800-245-6977.
NorthWestern Energy encourages customers to contact the company now to set up payment arrangements if they are concerned about the ability to pay their bill, so they are not faced with large balances later this year.
NorthWestern Energy offers several options to pay energy bills online, which can be found at northwesternenergy.com under the Account Services tab.