Utility customers in Duval County and elsewhere in the JEA service area will receive a fuel credit on an upcoming bill.
On Friday, the JEA Board approved a fuel charge credit of $27 million.
The money will come from the utility’s Rate Stabilization Fund.
Spread across the customer base, the credit comes out to about $25 for the average customer.
The move comes at a time when residents of the Jacksonville area, like everywhere else, wrestle with havoc wreaked upon the economy by coronavirus and related restrictions to commerce and movement.
“Lower fuel prices and greater operating efficiencies mean JEA is spending less money on fuel, which creates the opportunity to share savings with customers now, when they need it, as opposed to spreading it out over time,” a JEA announcement read.
The credit also offers customers who don’t need the extra cash an opportunity to pay it forward.
“If any customer receives the credit and wishes to contribute it to those in need, we will provide suggestions to make it easy for them to share their credit with others impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the media release notes.
To that end, a communications campaign will be mounted at an unknown cost.
JEA already offered a number of relief measures to customers, including suspension of disconnections, elimination of late fees, and suspension of credit card convenience fees.
Jacksonville’s public utility is exiting a tumultuous period, in which it appeared that the utility was trying to sell itself.
Former CEO Aaron Zahn was seen as central to that scheme, a plan that ultimately collapsed amidst media scrutiny and public outcry.
Interim CEO Melissa Dykes has been tasked with returning the utility to a pre-Zahn level of trust with the community, a tall order.
Ratings companies, even before coronavirus became an issue last month, raised concerns.
S&P Global Ratings cut in early March JEA’s senior water and sewer bond rating to AA-plus from AAA and its subordinate debt to AA from AA-plus, noted the Bond Buyer website.