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Gephardt: Gas Company Resumes Disconnecting Delinquents, Vows To Help Customers

SALT LAKE CITY, UtahDominion Energy decided in March to cease disconnecting those who didn’t pay their gas bills. The decision was to ensure that people who may come down with COVID-19 would be able to stay home comfortably, especially before summer when so many people rely on their furnaces. 

The program goes only until mid-July, said Dominion Energy spokesman Donald Porter.

“We are looking forward to July 20 when we’ll start reevaluating which accounts maybe need to be disconnected,” he said.

Still, Porter said the gas company is eager to keep working with folks who are struggling. While they are not writing off the delinquent bills, they’ve expanded a program that can defer payments for six to 12 months.

“If I was in a position where I couldn’t pay my bill, for whatever reason, that’d be frightening for me,” he said. “I understand people are probably scared right now because it’s not just the gas bill. If you’re having trouble paying bills, it’s probably not just the gas bill. It’s probably your rent or your mortgage, plus your car payment, insurance.” 

Dominion Energy is encouraging people who are in financial trouble to call right away. 

“If you know that you’re going to be falling behind, or you already have fallen behind, call us so we can try to try to help you get on top of this and take care of this problem,” he said. “We’re really going to try to help them and see what we can do.”

 “Facing such unprecedented economic insecurity over the past three months, many Dominion Energy customers are having trouble making ends meet,” said Craig Wagstaff, senior vice president and general manager, Western Distribution. “They are our friends and neighbors, and I want them to know we are prepared and eager to help them through this difficult time.”

As Dominion Energy goes forward the company will continue to look at all options to help customers, including continuing to waive late-payment charges and more flexible payment plans, the company said.

To make arrangements, customers are asked to email customercare@dominionenergy.com or call 800-323-5517.

According to a press release from Dominion Energy, programs are available to help with home energy costs.

Dominion Energy offers assistance through REACH, the company’s program for Utah and Idaho customers facing hardship,” it reads. “To meet needs during the pandemic, Dominion Energy is adding $125,000 to the program for this year, on top of a previous $75,000 annual contribution, and expanding eligibility to ensure families and individuals dealing with job loss or pay reduction can qualify for support.”

Additional payment assistance is offered through state and federal programs. To learn more, call 211 or visit DominionEnergy.com/energyassistance.”

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