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Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention

ASSISTANCE FOR IOWA SMALL BUSINESSES & NONPROFITS

Governor Reynolds has allocated federal CARES Act funds to assist small businesses and nonprofits economically impacted by COVID-19The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Small Business Utility Disruption PreventionProgram will provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that face significant hardship in the payment of utility bills for service provided during the months of disruption to their business.

AVAILABLE UTILITY BILL ASSISTANCE

  • Electric and natural gas utility bill assistance for four months of electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 15, 2020, 2020. Request for assistance must be for a minimum of $400 for natural gas and electric service charges combined, but may not exceed $7,500.
  • Financial assistance can only be applied to an applicant’s utility bills.  The applicant’s utility service provider will receive a payment from IEDA, which will be credited to the applicant’s utility account.
  • Applicants can only apply once prior to August 21st, and once after August 21st, but the total request for both applications may not exceed four months of utility charges, or $7,500, whichever is less.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Iowa-based for profit and nonprofit businesses with 50 or fewer employees
    • Must have a physical location (non-residential) in Iowa
    • Must be registered with the Iowa Secretary of State to do business in the State of Iowa (or with the County Recorder for sole proprietors)
  • Must not be an ineligible business type:
    • Adult Entertainment; Construction, Internet Sales, without corresponding storefront; Medical, with the exception of dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists and mental health providers; Private Clubs, Professional Services; Professional Sports; Religious Institutions, with the exception of those offering social services including daycare, food bank, preschool, shelter, etc.; Trades
  • Have not received funds provided by the State of Iowa's Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG) funding
  • Have not received any funds provided by the State of Iowa's Nonprofit Recovery Fund
  • Must have experienced a COVID-19 loss of income on or after March 17, 2020 that resulted in hardships paying bills received for electric or natural gas utility service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 15, 2020
  • Applicants' average monthly electric usage must not exceed 25,000 kWh for electricity or 2,500 therms for natural gas (review with your utility bill and/or contact your utility provider to confirm)
  • Businesses must be open

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

  • Applicant to complete a payroll template [.XLS] with employee information as of March 1, 2020

HOW TO APPLY

Applicants are required to complete the pre-application screening below. Upon successful completion of this screening checklist, the applicant will be provided with the link to the full application. By clicking below, you confirm you have read the eligibility guidelines and FAQ documentation.

PRE-APPLICATION CHECKLIST

APPLICATION STATUS

Check the status of your application using the link below:

CHECK APPLICATION STATUS



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is the timeline for applications?
    Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis beginning July 17, 2020 and assistance will be provided to eligible applicants on a first come, first ready to proceed basis until all funds have been exhausted or October 31, 2020, whichever comes first. Funds will not be held for incomplete applications.

  2. I do not have a computer. How can I apply for assistance?
    Applications must be submitted using the online application portal. Please contact a trusted friend or family member or your local library for assistance in applying. Applications submitted by email, U.S. mail, fax, or any other means will be ineligible and will not be reviewed. 

  3. How will payments be made?
    Once an application is approved, a single, one-time payment will be issued directly to an eligible applicant’s utility provider. The provider will deposit those funds in the applicant’s account as a credit.  

  4. I do not have an outstanding balance owed to my utility provider, but I did encounter significant hardship in making payments for service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 15, 2020.  Am I still eligible?
    Yes.  Applicants who do not have an outstanding balance owed to their utility provider are still eligible to apply for four months of assistance, up to $7,500.

  5. I previously applied for the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program and was approved.  Can I apply for this round of funding?
    Yes.
      Applicants who applied during the first round of funding prior to the program expansion on August 21 and were approved are eligible to apply and be considered for a second award. The sum of two awards approved for an applicant may not exceed a total of four months of utility bills and also may not exceed $7,500. An applicant applying for a second award may not receive financial assistance for the same time period of utility costs covered by their first award.

  6. I previously applied for the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program and was denied because I did not have an outstanding debt owed to my utility provider(s).  Can I apply for this round of funding?
    Yes.  If your previous application was denied because you did not have an outstanding debt to your electric or natural gas utility provider, you may reapply.  Applying a second time does not guarantee approval.

  7. I previously applied for the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program and was denied due to an application that was incomplete, or missing information.  Can I apply for this round of funding?
    Yes. If your previous application was denied because it was determined to be incomplete, or lacked required information, you may reapply.  Applying a second time does not guarantee approval.

  8. Who can I contact with questions? 
    Questions can be submitted via email to energyrecovery@iowaeda.com and staff will do their best to provide a prompt response.

    Additionally, questions can be offered via a phone call to the Energy Recovery Help Line, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.:
    Toll-free - 855.300.2342
    Local - 515.348.8914

  9. Is an in-home business eligible?
    No. Only small business establishments or nonprofits which operate in a physical location that is non-residential may be considered for eligibility.

  10. Does my business need to be registered to do business in the State of Iowa?
    Yes. Applicants must be registered to do business in Iowa by the Iowa Secretary of State (or County Recorder for sole proprietors). Sole proprietors will need to upload their registration as filed with the county.

  11. Are non-profits or 501(c)(3)s eligible? 
    Yes. Nonprofits are eligible to receive assistance.

  12. If my business has multiple locations in Iowa, is each location eligible to apply for assistance?
    Yes.
    Owners of multiple businesses may complete an application for each distinct business that has incurred electric or natural gas utility debt.

  13. Can I submit a PDF or printed application? 
    No. All applications must be submitted online. Applications submitted via any other means will be disqualified.

  14. How are the total number of employees determined? 
    For this program, an employee is an employee without regard to the number of hours worked. One person = one employee. 

  15. My business does not have any employees, or only has independent contractors.  Am I required to submit a payroll form?
    Yes. 
    The owner must complete the provided payroll template, counting themselves as an employee.

  16. I do not have Microsoft Excel.  Is there an alternate program I can use to complete and upload the payroll template?
    Yes. 
    While Microsoft Excel is the preferred upload format, free software such as Google Sheets can also be utilized to complete and upload the template.

  17. Where can I find information to confirm my business’ monthly energy use in terms of electricity (kWh) and natural gas (therms)? 
    You can review a copy of your utility bills and/or you can contact your electric and natural gas utility providers to confirm whether your businesses’ average monthly electric usage is less than 25,000 kWh and whether your businesses’ monthly average natural gas usage is less than 2,500 therms.

  18. My business closed operations due to economic hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic and unfortunately, we will not be re-opening again. Can we seek program assistance for utility debt?
    No. Assistance will only be provided to businesses that have re-opened and/or remain in operation at the time of application submittal.

  19. If I was determined to be ineligible for assistance, can I apply again if my circumstances have changed?
    Yes. You can create a subsequent application request for assistance which will restart the process for you. A change in circumstance or documentation may result in a change in your eligibility. If a previous application was determined ineligible due to misrepresentation of eligibility, you would not be eligible to reapply.

  20. The status of my application says “In Review” what does this mean?
    In order for an application for utility bill assistance to be approved, various levels of review must occur.  The review includes an eligibility review, a utility review and, if applicable, a licensing review.  If your application status displays the message “In Review”, it means your application has been received, but is under review and has not yet been approved or denied.

  21. The status of my application says “Electric Request Approved” or “Natural Gas Request Approved” what does this mean?
    If your application status displays this message, it means that your request for assistance for either electric or natural gas assistance has been approved, but a payment to your utility has not yet been issued. 

  22. What should I do if I realize I made a mistake in my application after submission?
    Please do not submit another application since duplicate applications will only slow the review process. If you realize you made an error, first check the status of your application.

    If the application status is “submitted”, you can email the energy recovery team at energyrecovery@iowaeda.com.  Please provide the following information:
     - Business name
     - Complete address
     - Error
     - Corrected information

    Please enter the subject line of your email as “ENERGY RECOVERY - APPLICATION CORRECTION.”  

    If the application status is anything other than “submitted” you will not be able to correct any errors. If your application is denied you can submit a new application, correcting the error.

  23. If my business received a Small Business Relief Grant from IEDA, am I eligible for assistance?
    No. If a company received a Small Business Relief Grant from IEDA, they are not eligible to receive assistance from the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program.

  24. If my nonprofit received a Nonprofit Recovery Fund Grant from IEDA, am I eligible for assistance?
    No. If a nonprofit received a Nonprofit Recovery Fund Grant from IEDA, they are not eligible to receive assistance from the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program.

  25. If my nonprofit applies for this program, will that impact my eligibility for the Nonprofit Recovery Fund Grant? 
    Yes. The amount of funding the nonprofit could receive from the Nonprofit Recovery Fund would be reduced by the amount of financial assistance provided under this program.  

  26. Will only staff at IEDA be viewing my application and required documentation? 
    No. Pertinent IEDA staff, subcontractors and your utility provider will have access to certain information provided in the submitted application and as part of the review process to determine eligibility.

  27. If my business received an SBA loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), am I eligible for assistance?
    Yes. A company that received an SBA loan through the PPP would be eligible to receive assistance if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program and funding is available.

  28. Once I have submitted an application, is it possible to check the status?
    Yes. You can check the status of a submitted application here.

Program Contact(s)

energyrecovery@iowaeda.com
Toll-free 855.300.2342
Local 515.348.8914

Phone hours: M-F, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Messages left after hours will be answered within one business day.

 
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