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Dominion Energy aiming to extend "no disconnection" policy

(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT
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Virginia's largest electric utility says they're expanding ways to help customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dominion Energy, they're extending their policy of not disconnecting any customer's power, regardless of late or nonpayments, until mid-October.

The company's proposal to extend the policy still has to be approved by Virginia's State Corporation Commission, which previously ruled that no utilities in Virginia could disconnect people's electricity, water, or sewer until June 15.

In addition to their extension, Dominion says they're launching new payment options to help customers who have had financial difficulty, including offering a year to pay past-due balances starting on June 15, without the need for a down payment.

Dominion is also investing more of the company's money into its Energy Share program, so those in financial crisis are now eligible for up to $1,200 in heating and cooling assistance.

“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.”

Dominion suspended disconnections for customers who are behind on their bills as of March 12 and has offered a range of assistance options since then.

The disconnection policy established by the Virginia SCC a few days after Dominion's voluntary suspension is set to expire on June 15, and the SCC is accepting comments on next steps. Dominion says they're requesting the SCC allow them a four-month extension until October 14, along with waiving late fees.

During that extra time, the company says they'll "encourage customers to work with us to develop payment plans for their unique circumstances." Then, when October comes, Dominion would re-evaluate next steps depending on economic conditions at the time.

As far as payment plans, starting June 15, Dominion says they're expanding their long-term payment plans to offer customers up to 12 months to pay any past-due amounts, with no minimum down payment required. Anyone interested in that plan should reach out to Dominion about their options through their online account at

or by calling (866) 366-4357.

As far as payment assistance, Dominion is increasing the benefits made available through EnergyShare, their year-round assistance program for individuals and families facing financial hardship, which is currently supported with $13 million in annual corporate contributions.

Changes planned to the program include the following, according to Dominion:

• 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.

• We are preparing to increase EnergyShare funding to help meet the needs of our Virginia customers and intend to implement a temporary program to help small business customers. We will share details when they are available.

• To learn more about EnergyShare, please visit

or call 2-1-1.

Dominion has also put together a series of tips about being mindful of energy use

and is reminding people not to fall victim to utility scams right now.

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 their number shows on the caller ID, don’t provide information. Verify what you’re being told. Sign into your online account to confirm payment status or call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).