CLEVELAND, June 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Energy Ohio is working to support customers facing financial hardship, offering more flexible payment options on past due balances and increased financial support for EnergyShare, our program supporting families and individuals in need. The company remains committed to providing reliable and safe energy, even as the pandemic continues to impact communities across the country.
"With the surge in unemployment claims due to COVID-19 we know more customers may qualify for utility assistance this year, and we want you to know we have programs and payment options to help you move forward," said Jim Eck, Vice President & General Manager, Ohio & West Virginia Distribution. "If you're having trouble paying your bill, we're here to help you find the best option for your unique situation."
On March 12, Dominion Energy voluntarily suspended disconnections for customers falling behind on their bills, while offering a range of assistance to help them. The decision was later affirmed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Recognizing that this could not be sustained indefinitely, the PUCO has asked utilities to submit plans for resumption of normal credit procedures. As a result, the company today filed a plan with the PUCO to begin a gradual return to normal credit procedures over the coming months.
The plan, unless modified by the PUCO, sets forth the company's timeline for a resumption of normal credit operations, beginning after August 3. Moving forward, the company will continue to look at all options to provide assistance for customers, including waiving reconnection fees and late payment charges.
During the period ahead, the company strongly encourages customers to take advantage of the resources being made available, chief among them more flexible payment plans. Customers can learn more by calling 1-800-362-7557. Information is also available 24/7 online at DominionEnergy.com.
"We are taking additional customer assistance steps, such as waiving deposit requirements and stopping late fees from accruing," Eck said. "If you've fallen behind, please let us help."
Payment Plans. If customers are having trouble paying their bills, the company offers both short-term payment extensions and long-term payment plans to help residential and commercial customers manage their balances and catch up over time. Customers may qualify for one of several Dominion Energy or State of Ohio programs. Dominion offerings include:
- Additional flexibility for customers who enroll in our Budget Plus payment plan. Under Budget Plus, we are now allowing customers to pay off past due amounts over 12 months. Previously, the maximum was 9 months. Please contact us to discuss whether additional payment options may be available.
- Waiver of deposit requirements for Budget Plus and all other repayment plans. We have also stopped late fees from accruing.
EnergyShare. Direct assistance is offered through EnergyShare, our program for those facing financial hardships, which is administered by the Salvation Army. EnergyShare is funded with company contributions and supplemented with donations from customers and employees. To meet needs during the pandemic, we are adding $150,000 to the program, on top of a previous $250,000 annual contribution, while also expanding eligibility and assistance. Here are important details:
- Participants must be Dominion Energy Ohio residential customers.
- Applications for the 2019-2020 winter heating season will be accepted until Aug. 31, 2020, or until funds run out. The previous deadline was May 31, 2020.
- If customers qualify, they could be eligible for up to $500 in assistance. The previous maximum was $300.
- Household income eligibility has been in increased to include customers up to 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The previous limit was 150 percent.
- Customers may contact the Salvation Army for more information or see if they qualify at: http percentps://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus): This unique Ohio program allows eligible customers to maintain natural gas service by paying a monthly amount based on 6 percent of their total monthly household income or $10, whichever amount is greater. Households with a gross yearly household income at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible to participate. To obtain an application, call The Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800- 282-0880 or visit https://development.force.com/eap/s/login/?ec=302&startURL=%2Feap%2Fs%2F).
Save on Energy: For some, this additional time at home could result in increased bills. We've put together tips to help customers be mindful of their energy use. Visit www.DominionEnergy.com/WaysToSave to learn more.
Customers Need to Protect Themselves from Scams: Scams are on the rise. Dominion Energy will never call and demand immediate payment or ask for payment on a pre-paid debit or gift card. If customers are unsure if a call is valid, even if Dominion Energy's phone number shows on the caller ID, they should not provide any information. They should hang up and call Dominion Energy at 1-800-362-7557.
About Dominion Energy
More than 7 million customers in 20 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy with more than $100 billion of assets providing electric generation, transmission and distribution, as well as natural gas storage, transmission, distribution and import/export services. The company is committed to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050. Please visit DominionEnergy.com to learn more.
SOURCE Dominion Energy Ohio