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Dominion Energy boosts support for Virginia customers struggling financially during pandemic

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Posted at 5:54 AM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 05:54:10-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Dominion Energy says they are expanding assistance to Virginia customers facing hardship, offering a more generous payment plan and new direct assistance, while asking permission from regulators for an additional four-month extension of the “no disconnection” policy.

The efforts come as the pandemic continues to impact millions of Americans across the country.

“We recognize the challenges that many are facing and want customers to know we are here to help, as we continue to navigate this pandemic together,” said Robert Blue, co-chief operating officer and executive vice president, Dominion Energy Virginia. “Our mission of supporting our customers and the communities they live in has never been more important.”

On March 12, Dominion Energy voluntarily suspended disconnections for customers falling behind on their bills, while offering a range of assistance to help them.

Virginia’s disconnection policy, implemented after the company’s voluntary suspension, is due to expire June 15. The State Corporation Commission is accepting comments on next steps. To create certainty for customers, DE is requesting the SCC allow the company a four-month extension of the disconnection policy, through October 14. We are also requesting to continue waiving late fees through that period.

During that time, DE encourages customers to work with them to develop payment plans for their unique circumstances. At the end of the proposed extension, DE will re-evaluate next steps based on a range of factors, including the needs of customers and economic conditions at that time.

Payment Plans: DE has offered both short-term payment extensions and long-term payment plans to help customers manage balances. Starting June 15, they will expand long-term payment plans and offer customers up to 12 months to pay past due amounts, with no minimum down payment required. Customers are encouraged to contact them, so they can begin working toward solutions. Costumers can access options through their online account at this link or by calling (866) 366-4357.

Payment Assistance: DE is increasing the benefits made available through EnergyShare, the year-round assistance program for individuals and families facing financial hardship. The Virginia program, supported currently with $13 million in annual corporate contributions, is implemented in partnership with relief and community support agencies.

Planned changes include:

  • Effective June 1, the maximum benefit is increased to $1,200 for this year, up from $900.
  • Customers under the age of 60 are now eligible to receive funds without a disconnect notice, similar to customers 60 and over.
  • DE is preparing to increase EnergyShare funding to help meet the needs of Virginia customers and intend to implement a temporary program to help small business customers.
  • To learn more about EnergyShare, please visit this link or call 2-1-1.

Protect Yourself from Scams: As the pandemic spread, De says they've seen a spike in scams.

Remember that Dominion Energy will never call and demand immediate payment or ask for payment on a pre-paid debit or gift card. If you are unsure if a call is valid, even if the number shows on the caller ID, don’t provide any information.