Nebraska residents can turn to the MUD program for help with paying utility bills and preventing a service disconnection. The program from Metropolitan Utilities District was created over 20 years ago. Each and every year it helps thousands of people catch up on bills. Many are seeking help for the first time as they have faced unexpected job losses, medical bills, or other emergencies.
The program is staffed by United Way counselors. They staff the assistance program in the lobby of MUD's downtown office at 1723 Harney St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, mid-February through April 30 for customers who have received utility shutoff or disconnection notices for natural gas service. No appointment is necessary in order to talk to a counselor. People can simply check in with the receptionist and meet with a counselor on the spot. While the type of financial assistance and other resources offered will vary based on someone’s circumstances, counseling sessions usually last about 15 minutes each but can go longer, depending on need.
The MUD program is slightly different during the hot summer months. During the summer, the counseling program shifts to the Omaha Public Power District's downtown headquarters. During this time of the year American Red Cross staff members will help and advice people who are struggling to pay air-conditioning bills and other summer expenses.
One of the main benefits is that the MUD program provides a human touch to counseling services that also are available by phone, and it is much better to talk face to face to explore all options for paying utility bills.
In addition, other energy bill assistance is available through state agencies, the American Red Cross, the local branch of the Salvation Army, churches and other groups and non-profit agencies.