The city of Brookhaven says it has paid off overdue electric bills of more than 2,500 residents and businesses with over $777,000 in federal pandemic relief funds.

The credit was already applied to bills of all Georgia Power customers within the city that were more than 30 days overdue and dated between March and Oct. 16.

The 2,446 residential accounts and 110 business accounts were identified without an application process or verification that they were unpaid due to the pandemic’s economic impacts, according to city spokesperson Burke Brennan.

To settle the overdue bills, the city spent $777,616 of its share of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds obtained through DeKalb County. The city received $6.3 million in CARES Acts funds and is spending it on a variety of services and programs.

“The CARES Act is dedicated to providing some economic relief to people who have been hit hard by this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor John Ernst in a press release announcing the bill pay-off. “Many people have been financially devastated through a decrease of income or an outright job loss. This is one way we can utilize CARES Act funds to really help those that are in the greatest need.”

In the early months of the pandemic, Georgia Power instituted a moratorium on disconnecting power for unpaid bills, but ended that program July 15. Georgia Power continues to provide installment plans to pay off overdue bills.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.