Recognizing the financial impact rising utility bills are having on some customers, OUC – The Reliable One is making $1.2 million in emergency bill-payment assistance available through its Project CARE fund. The program offers households in danger of losing utility service up to $500 in assistance during a one-year period.

“With prices rising for many products and services, and families impacted by two recent major storms – Hurricanes Ian and Nicole – we know our customers are feeling the strain, so we’re here to help,” said Linda Ferrone, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer. “As the hometown utility for nearly a century, it’s incumbent on us to do the right thing for our customers.”

Administered by Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1, Project CARE is supported by contributions from OUC employees and customers. For every $1 donated to the fund, OUC contributes $2. Customers can give to Project CARE by making donations through their utility bills. During the pandemic, OUC contributed additional funds to Project CARE and provided $2.6 million in assistance. The payment assistance program has helped 25,000 households since its inception in 1994.

Customers in need of help to pay their utility bills can determine their eligibility three ways:

  • Dial 2-1-1 to speak with a representative
  • Text their ZIP code to 898-211
  • Visit

In addition to Project CARE, OUC offers customers payment-management options, such as the Power Pass prepaid program and Budget Billing, as well as payment plans. To learn more, visit To learn about efficiency programs and ways to use less energy and water, visit