Staff Report

MORRO BAY – City Council approved enhancements to the City’s Utility Discount Program (UDP) for qualifying community members. Under the new plan, the discount for qualifying residents on their monthly water/sewer bills expands from 10% to 25% through the end of June 2021.

“We understand many folks in our community are struggling financially due to COVID-19,” said Mayor John Headding. “By expanding the UDP program, we are helping those who are likely in greatest need.”

The Utility Discount Program is available to Morro Bay residents who participate in Pacific Gas and Electric’s CARE program or So Cal Gas’ similar program. In April 2020, the City Council expanded the program’s eligibility to include those who lost their jobs or businesses as a result of COVID. City Council’s action on Sept. 22 unanimously affirmed the extension of this qualification criteria to June 2021 as well.

The City is one of only two water/sewer utilities in San Luis Obispo County to offer such a program. The program is separate from the General Fund and is not paid through water and sewer rates.

Morro Bay is unique in that the City Council adopted a Utility Rebate program to residents of Mobile Home Parks and Apartment complex’s that are not individually metered. Under this rebate program, income-eligible residents receive two bi-annual rebates totaling $150 a year or $12.50/month to help offset utility expenses. In uniformity with the expansion of the Utility Discount Program, the City Council unanimously voted to increase the Rebate under this program to $180 per year or $18/month, again with the intention of providing temporary COVID relief to the most in need members of our community.

Residents and Utility customers that may qualify for enrollment in either the Utility Discount or Utility Rebate programs and are not already enrolled are encouraged to contact the City of Morro Bay Account Clerks at (805)772-6222 for assistance in registering for these programs.

In addition, the City Council directed staff to develop a business grant program to support those businesses impacted by COVID-19. Staff will bring back options to City Council in October 2020 for consideration.