Community donates COVID Relief Credit to help those in need

Medicine Hat – On August 3, 2021, Council approved $4.5 million in COVID Relief to be administered as an equal credit between all Medicine Hat utility accounts, while encouraging those who can do without the help to donate back to the Community Warmth program. The City is pleased to announce that as of September 30, 97 customers donated all or a portion of their credit back to the program for a total value of $13,282.

“These figures prove how much our community cares for one another,” said Denise Schmaltz, manager of Customer Care and Billing. “It is so rewarding to offer the conduit between people who can help and those who need it.”

Community Warmth is an ongoing assistance program administered by The Salvation Army to utility customers who are experiencing financial issues beyond their control. The City of Medicine Hat supports the program by providing a convenient, cost effective mechanism for customers to donate by adding a pre-designated contribution, in increments of $1, to their utility payment each month.  

Customer Donations
There are currently 291 customers contributing monthly donations to the program through their monthly utility statement.

Council’s 2020 HAT COVID-19 Assistance Package
Last year, City Council created a HAT COVID-19 Assistance Package to support vulnerable residents which included $900,000 towards Community Warmth to assist those with utility arrears that have been impacted by COVID. To date, this fund has assisted 358 customers with $661,231 in utility arrears support. The remainder of the fund is expected to be fully utilized by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

To get help
Residents who are struggling to make their utility payment are encouraged to contact Making contact prior to receiving a Disconnect Warning Notice helps avoid additional service fees and allows collections officers to provide the best available option for assistance. There are options, including:

  • Setting up a payment plan
  • Enabling fixed price commodity pricing
  • Transferring utility arrears to property tax payment for customers who own property
  • Setting up Budget Billing where a customer can spread out and stabilize monthly bills to a fixed amount until the account is settled
  • Applying for Community Warmth assistance or referrals to other social agencies

“Supporting our community through times of hardship is a large part of our job, and our Collections department are caring professionals who will exhaust all avenues before the difficult decision of disconnecting utility service,” adds Schmaltz. “But residents need to engage with us early, prior to getting disconnected, if they are having payment difficulty so that we can see which options may be available and prevent them from getting disconnected, which also saves on disconnection fees.”

Nine per cent of utility customers are currently in arrears, which represents almost no material difference from pre-COVID levels.

For more information, or to set up a monthly donation amount, please visit

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For further information, please contact: