BY ERIN CAMPBELL
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced a new program to assist small businesses and nonprofits struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills due to economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program will distribute $14.5 million to provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses. Gov. Reynolds allocated funding for this program from Iowa’s share of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in March.
Applications will be accepted at www.iowabusinessrecovery.com until Aug. 21, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. An eligible business can apply for a grant up to $7,500 to cover utility bill debt incurred for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and June 30, 2020. The applicant’s utility service provider(s) will receive a credit, which will be applied to the applicant’s utility debt.
- For-profit and nonprofit businesses with 50 or fewer employees
- Must have a physical location (non-residential location) in Iowa
- Have not received any IEDA Small Business Relief Grant funding or any assistance from the State of Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Fund
- Must be registered with the Iowa Secretary of State to do business in the state
- Must have experienced a COVID-19 loss of revenue on or after March 17, 2020, that resulted in unpaid bills for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and June 30, 2020
- A business’s average monthly energy use must not exceed 25,000 kWh for electricity or 2,500 therms for natural gas
- A business must not have incurred more than two late charges in 2019 for not paying their utility bills prior to March 17, 2020
- Businesses must be open or planning to reopen