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Important COVID-19 Energy Updates

Last Updated: 7/30/2020

We know that you’re working hard to stay safe and healthy, take care of your families, make a living and find creative ways to connect from a distance. In an effort to help you during this uncertain time, we’ve assembled the resources below to provide you with the latest energy-focused update relating to the effects of COVID-19. The impact from the virus extends beyond utility bills, we highlight 3 trends impacting electricity rates today.

Click on your state or energy provider below to see a summary of their responses to COVID-19 and helpful links.

States

Energy Providers

ConnecticutConstellation
GeorgiaDirect Energy
MarylandSpark Energy
MassachusettsTomorrow Energy
MichiganStarion Energy
New HampshireVerde Energy
New JerseyReliant Energy
New York
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Illinois
Texas

We also recommend visiting this page outlining three trends that make now the best time ever to shop energy rates.

Updates by State & Utility Provider

Here you can find a breakdown of updates and resources relating to the effects of COVID-19 by state and utility provider.

Connecticut

Check electricity rates in Connecticut

As energy bills soar, Eversource and Millstone point fingers

Many Connecticut residents are seeing higher energy bills in recent weeks. Their outrage has caused lawmakers to take notice, as well as prompted a public rift between Millstone Nuclear Power Station and Eversource Energy.

Eversource and Millstone blame each other for the higher prices, with Eversource putting the onus on a state-mandated agreement, finalized in 2019, for the utility to use power from Millstone for the next 10 years in order to keep the plant from closing.

Link: As energy bills soar, Eversource and Millstone point fingers

Connecticut Is The Most Energy Expensive State: Report

CONNECTICUT — The good news for environmentalists, and everyone else on the planet, is that commercial and industrial energy consumption is way down since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The bad news is that your home energy bill is likely a lot higher since the start of the lockdown — you knew your binge-watching of “Bojack Horseman” with the AC cranked was going to leave a mark somewhere…

Link: Connecticut Is The Most Energy Expensive State: Report

Never let a good crisis go to waste

In mid-April, as COVID-19 was paralyzing the northeast, Massachusetts made an eyebrow-raising announcement. The state’s Department of Energy Resources, in what it called an emergency order, doubled the capacity of its key solar program and declared its solar industry an essential service.

While states like Connecticut included the solar sector in their stay-at-home ranks – contributing to what would become a more than 620,500 loss of clean energy jobs nationally by the end of May – Massachusetts kept its solar people working.

Link: Never let a good crisis go to waste

Expect a Coronavirus Spike In Home Energy Bills This Summer

An energy and analytical company predicts higher home energy bills this summer as a result of Covid-19. Depending on where you live, Arcadia estimates that American households will be spending between $2 and $37 more on their monthly utility bills this summer.

The higher amounts are generally associated with places having higher population densities, although the West Coast shouldn’t get hit as hard.

Link: Expect a Coronavirus Spike In Home Energy Bills This Summer

New England business groups make case to suspend energy efficiency surcharges

Organizations representing large commercial and industrial employers in Rhode Island and Connecticut are advocating for the temporary suspension of utility bill surcharges that fund energy efficiency programs in both states.

The business groups argue that halting the surcharges would provide some rate relief to both commercial and residential customers at a time when many are having financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We’re not looking to decimate these programs, but we are saying, ‘We’ve got to take a breather,’” said Doug Gablinske, executive director of the Energy Council of Rhode Island, which represents large energy users.

Link: New England business groups make case to suspend energy efficiency surcharges

CT electric, gas companies offer payment plan to relieve pandemic debt

The three Connecticut utilities that are subsidaries of Orange-based Avangrid are offering 24-month, interest-free payment plan to give customers some financial flexibility to pay down any balances accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new payment plan being offered by United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas is in addition to a moratorium on service shutoffs that the Avangrid subsidiaries announced mid-March. The utilities developed the plans at the direction of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, which has been working with the state’s electric and natural gas companies to find ways to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic.

Link: CT electric, gas companies offer payment plan to relieve pandemic debt

United Illuminating Updates

Utility regulators approve new generation rates for CT standard service customers

Customers of The United Illuminating Co. and Eversource Energy who allow the utilities to purchase the electricity they use will see that portion of their monthly utility bill decrease starting Jan. 1.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved the new generation rates for standard service customers on Wednesday. Standard service customers let UI and Eversource Energy purchase generated electricity for them rather than buying it through a third-party provider.

Link: Utility regulators approve new generation rates for CT standard service customers

Covid-19 and Our Response

  • Our Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan has been activated – We are committed to maintaining your service.
  • Service connections – We have implemented additional safety practices for our crews and will continue to turn on or off your service if you need to move.
  • We have suspended late payment charges.
  • We have suspended all disconnections for non-payment.
  • We have suspended re-connection fees.
  • We have suspended requests for security deposits.
  • Please call us if you would like to discuss your account and manage your payments.

Link: Covid-19 and Our Response

Learn more about United Illuminating

Eversource Energy (CL&P) Updates

Eversource to participate in COVID-19 webinars

Eversource energy company is inviting customers to take part in the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority’s (PURA) upcoming webinars to learn more about steps it has taken to help during the COVID-9 pandemic. Eversource representatives will share information on assistance available to customers during this time and offer solutions and tips to help customers save money and energy while they spend more time at home.

Since mid-March, the energy company has:

  • Suspended all customer disconnections for non-payment.
  • Waived late payment charges.
  • Began offering a special, flexible payment plan for any past due bills.
  • Offered additional energy-saving tips to help reduce energy use while people are spending more time at home.

Link: Eversource to participate in COVID-19 webinars

We’ve suspended disconnections, late fees and taken other steps to help customers in response to COVID-19. 

  • We are suspending disconnection of service for non-payment. 
  • We are eliminating late payment charges.
  • We are offering a special, flexible payment plan — with no down payment — for any past-due amount. Residential customers please contact us at 800-286-2828 (electric) or 800-438-2278 (gas) to learn more. Business customers, please contact us at 800-682-2627
  • We have enabled more than 80% of our Customer Service Representatives to take customer calls from home. Please be patient if you hear our families, pets, or other background noise.
  • Some of our field employees may be taking work vehicles home at the end of the day. If you see an Eversource vehicle in a private driveway, this is part of our plan to ensure a fast response in case of emergencies and to limit group interactions at our work centers.
  • We have online and mobile tools to help you conduct business with us as usual, including customer service agents to speak with by phone. Our mobile app allows you to easily check your account, pay your bill and more at your convenience.
  • For answers to commonly asked questions about Eversource and our response to COVID-19, visit our FAQ page

Link: Responding to COVID-19

Learn more about Eversource Energy (CL&P)

Georgia

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‘Tidal Wave’ Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat

Wykeisha Howe is trying to be thrifty. When her kids are uncomfortable in the sweltering Atlanta heat, she gives them freeze pops. Instead of cranking up the air conditioner, she uses a fan. Lunch and dinner are cooked at the same time, so the electric stove doesn’t have to be turned on twice.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, her electricity provider, Georgia Power, voluntarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment… Now, those power shut-off moratoriums are expiring, including Georgia Power’s, which ended on July 15.

Link: ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat

The moratorium on utility disconnects has ended – what you need to know if you still can’t pay

ATLANTA — The state’s moratorium on utility disconnects ended less than a week ago, making payments due for customers across the state who may be struggling with bills during pandemic job loss and previous circumstances worsened by the current economy.

In most cases, customers have been taking advantage of payment plans and providers saying, “Call us. We will work this out.” Still, advocates worry people won’t be able to continue pushing those bills off month to month in an effort to catch up now that disconnections are back in play.

Link: The moratorium on utility disconnects has ended – what you need to know if you still can’t pay

Georgia Power can begin disconnecting your power again today | Here’s where you can get help

ATLANTA — Beginning today, state regulatory authorities will again allow Georgia Power to disconnect households that fall behind on their power bill.

Advocates have said it’s far too soon – with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic nowhere in sight – but the Georgia Public Service Commission, which oversees Georgia Power, has elected not to extend the moratorium on disconnections.

Link: Georgia Power can begin disconnecting your power again today | Here’s where you can get help

Energy assistance programs offered for customers facing financial hardships

ATLANTA, GA (WGCL ) — Atlanta Gas Light wants citizens who may need financial assistance with their utility bills to know there are resources available for customers.

According to a press release, there are several programs for customers facing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19.

Link: Energy assistance programs offered for customers facing financial hardships

Don’t Let Utilities Cut Off Power During the Pandemic

Cutting off a household’s electricity in the middle of a Georgia summer is inhumane at any time, but it is particularly dangerous during a pandemic.

On June 2, the Public Service Commission voted to end moratoriums on utility shutoffs, which had been in place since April to protect consumers during COVID-19. Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light will begin cutting off people’s power for overdue bills as early as July 15. This decision comes as COVID-19 case rates are rising across the state, unemployment in Athens is at 10.6%, and public pools, camps and facilities remain closed or limited. The conditions under which the PSC adopted the moratorium persist. The policy protecting consumers should, too.

Link: Don’t Let Utilities Cut Off Power During the Pandemic

Utility companies offer payment plans to customers affected by pandemic

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WJCL) — Even during a pandemic, some bills are essential to pay. And in the sweltering heat of the Lowcountry summer, that includes utility bills.

But amid a sea of endless challenges created by the COVID-19 outbreak, some good news. Some utility companies in Georgia and South Carolina have relaxed their bill payment policies.

Link: Utility companies offer payment plans to customers affected by pandemic

Georgia Power pulling the plug for unpaid electric bills, but offers help

The Georgia Public Service Commission agreed earlier this week to allow Georgia Power to lift a pandemic-related moratorium and resume power shutoffs on July 15. Customers who are in arrears on their electric bill can avoid being cut off by signing up for a payment plan that stretches out the payback time to March 2021 without a penalty.

Customers who fall behind after July 15 will have the standard 45 days before facing disconnection.

Link: Georgia Power pulling the plug for unpaid electric bills, but offers help

PSC works with Georgia Power, gas marketers to provide payment plans for late utility bills

The Georgia Public Service Commission has been working with Georgia Power and natural gas companies to create the easiest methods possible to start repaying utility bills that fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any customer in arrears is urged to call their power company or gas marketer immediately to enroll in a repayment plan. Georgia Power is offering a special payment plan for past-due balances where customers who enroll will be able to repay over a six-month period between October 2020 and March 2021. No late fees will be assessed, as long as customers keep current with their payment plans.

Link: PSC works with Georgia Power, gas marketers to provide payment plans for late utility bills

Watchdogs call for Georgia Power to delay delinquent customer shut-offs

State utility regulators are set to sign off on terms of a repayment plan for 160,000 Georgia Power customers delinquent on their bills when a moratorium on electricity shut offs expires next month.

The Georgia Public Service Commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a proposal to offer Georgia Power’s delinquent customers the option to pay off their late bills over time starting this fall.

Link: Watchdogs call for Georgia Power to delay delinquent customer shut-offs

Georgia Power Service Shutoffs To Resume Mid-July

Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light are poised to resume shutting off service in July for customers who do not pay their bills following months of abstaining from disconnections during the coronavirus pandemic.

The two energy companies, which provide gas and electricity to millions of Georgians, pushed pause on service disconnections March 14 as Gov. Brian Kemp placed the state under a public health emergency stemming from the pandemic.

Link: Georgia Power Service Shutoffs To Resume Mid-July

Georgia Power customers to see $21 reduction on June bills

ATLANTA, June 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Georgia Power today announced that the typical residential customer using 1,000-kilowatt hours will receive an $11.29 credit on their June Georgia Power bill. This reflects implementation of a one-time $51.5 million credit for customers, approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), as a result of Georgia Power’s 2018 financial results.

Link: Georgia Power customers to see $21 reduction on June bills

Georgia Power warning customers of COVID-19 scammers

ATLANTA – Georgia Power is warning customers about scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the energy giant, customers should beware of phone calls from people posing as Georgia Power employees and demanding payment while threatening to disconnect service.

Link: Georgia Power warning customers of COVID-19 scammers

Southern Company Gas Updates

Southern Co., Alabama Power meet with Trump officials on keys to economic revival

Officials from the Southern Company and Alabama Power made several recommendations at a meeting with Trump Administration officials to help restore the nation’s economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Great American Economic Revival Energy Industry Group meeting at the White House on April 14, Southern Company and Alabama Power, which is part of the Southern Company, were among those in attendance across a variety of sectors, including energy.

Link: Southern Co., Alabama Power meet with Trump officials on keys to economic revival

Southern Company Gas Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Effective, March 14, we have voluntarily suspended service disconnections for residential and commercial customers for non-payment.
  • We also provide self-service offerings online to help with bill management and payments, including payment arrangements through our My Account portal.
  • If you have an appointment with us but have been advised to stay at home by a health official for the coronavirus or experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, please reach out and let us know.
  • We are utilizing technology to enable most of our 4,400 employees to work from home – mitigating exposure to peers while continuing our work
  • When our employees need to enter customers’ homes and businesses, they will ask questions before entering to ensure they are taking the appropriate precautions. They’ll also request some social distancing while in your home, and may wear protective gear when necessary and appropriate.

Link: Southern Company Gas Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Maryland

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With Moratorium on Utility Shutoffs Due to End, Lawmakers Seek Action From PSC

More than 60 members of the General Assembly have written to the Maryland Public Service Commission, urging the PSC, which regulates utilities, to quickly study the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on consumers’ ability to pay their utility bills.

In their letter, sent late last week, the lawmakers endorse a request from the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel, which represents consumers in matters before the PSC, that the regulatory agency schedule an emergency proceeding to examine the economic impact of the pandemic.

Link: With Moratorium on Utility Shutoffs Due to End, Lawmakers Seek Action From PSC

Maryland Public Service Commission hosting conference on COVID-19 impacts on utilities

The Maryland Public Service Commission is hosting a conference to gauge the impact that COVID-19 has had on utility operations, consumer protections, service reliability, and financial health.

The conference, which will be held Aug. 27 and 28, will feature commentary from electric and gas utilities in the state on the impacts of stay-at-home orders and the prohibition on shutoffs have had on energy usage, utility operations, reliability, and revenue.

Link: Maryland Public Service Commission hosting conference on COVID-19 impacts on utilities

How To Find Stimulus Checks Offered By State And Local Governments

The Cares Act passed and was signed into at the end of March. As is often the case with bureaucracy, in some places, it has taken until the last few weeks for the funds to flow to local governments.

We are starting to see some of those governments begin to offer financial assistance to their residents in the form of direct payments.

Link: How To Find Stimulus Checks Offered By State And Local Governments

Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Are Suffering in Pandemic

When a bill that called for half of Maryland’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030 became law last year, advocates predicted that there would be as many as 20,000 new Maryland jobs through 2028.

Then the pandemic hit. The clean energy industry has lost more than 620,000 jobs, or 18% of its workforce, nationwide since the pandemic, according to a report by BW Research published on June 15. In May alone, 27,000 clean energy jobs were lost.

Link: Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Are Suffering in Pandemic

As pandemic-related disconnection moratoriums end, talk turns to unpaid bills

Whether by choice or by obligation, many electric utilities instituted disconnection moratoriums in response to the coronavirus pandemic, providing financially struggling households with some temporary economic relief.

But with many of those moratoriums soon set to expire and the nation’s economy still far from fully recovered from the effects of COVID-19, a portion of those with deferred utility bills likely remain unable to pay their accumulated debts.

That has prompted advocacy groups such as AARP to call for leniency for struggling ratepayers, noting that the moratoriums do not actually address the problem of mounting arrearages.

“Obviously, shut-off moratoriums only defer the matter and once such moratoriums are lifted, additional reforms to policies will be needed,” an AARP spokesperson said.

Link: As pandemic-related disconnection moratoriums end, talk turns to unpaid bills

Is COVID-19 a Force Majeure Event That Excuses Performance on Renewable Construction Projects?

Like other segments of the economy, the renewable energy industry is dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states still have restricted business activities and are only now considering lifting those restrictions. Many equipment suppliers, contractors, and project owners have sent or received force majeure notices under their respective contracts and disputes may arise over whether a COVID-related delay in performance is excused.

The force majeure clause in the contract is the logical starting point and may be dispositive. As one Texas court explained, “when the parties have themselves defined the contours of force majeure in their agreement, those contours dictate the application, effect, and scope of force majeure.” But there are several aspects of a force majeure clause that should be considered to determine whether COVID-19 constitutes a force majeure event.

Link: Is COVID-19 a Force Majeure Event That Excuses Performance on Renewable Construction Projects?

COVID-19 Highlights the Need to Ensure Reliable Electricity

Insufficient intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators at American hospitals combating the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance of capacity planning for critical systems. The desire to minimize empty ICU beds and unused ventilators during normal times has led to acute shortages during the pandemic. We should learn from this experience and not let poor capacity planning endanger our electricity supply, especially during a time of crisis. A December 2019 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “Minimum Offer Price Rule” (MOPR) change achieves this goal and it should be supported.

Link: COVID-19 Highlights the Need to Ensure Reliable Electricity

Coronavirus In Maryland: Hospitalizations Remain Flat, COVID-19 Cases Near 36K

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Hospitalizations remain flat Thursday morning as Maryland reports nearly 36,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. According to state officials, there are a total 35,903 COVID-19 cases reported in the state, an increase of 1,091 since Wednesday.

However, both the number of current hospitalizations and patients in ICU slightly decreased. Hospitalizations are now at 1,538, down 12 from Wednesday and ICU cases are down three to 569. A total of 1,748 people have died from this virus in Maryland, the state also reported Thursday, and there are 118 probable deaths.

Link: Coronavirus In Maryland: Hospitalizations Remain Flat, COVID-19 Cases Near 36K

BGE Updates

BGE Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

  • BGE announced that it is taking several steps to help customers during the Coronavirus Pandemic including suspension of service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges.
  • BGE is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges at least until May 1
  • BGE will continue to respond to requests to start or stop service which, in many cases, can be done remotely
  • BGE reminds customers to be on alert for potential scams targeting utility customers.
  • BGE has canceled all routine planned outages for non-critical maintenance, and we are only proceeding with those that are critical to ensuring the safety of the public or which will help prevent a much longer, sustained outage.
  • If you plan to pay your BGE bill at a walk-in payment location, please call the location ahead of time to confirm their hours of operation.

Link: BGE Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about BGE

PEPCO Updates

Pepco continues customer support efforts until July 1 due to coronavirus pandemic

Pepco will keep extending its goodwill to customers during the coronavirus pandemic by suspending service disconnections, waiving new late fees and reconnecting customers who were previously disconnected until at least July 1.

The utility company announced the move on Friday in a news release, building on its initial gesture in March as one of the first companies in the nation to suspend service disconnections and waive new late payment charges for all customers.

Link: Pepco continues customer support efforts until July 1 due to coronavirus pandemic

Pepco Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic 

  • Pepco is closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking appropriate precautions to protect the health and safety of our customers, employees and contractors.
  • We are also ensuring our essential employees who regularly interact with customers have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform their jobs safely. 
  • Pepco is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges at least until May 1 and will be working with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options.  
  • Pepco will continue to respond to requests to start, stop or more service, which in many cases, can be done remotely, without accessing customer homes or businesses.
  • On occasions where Pepco employees or contractors require access to the interiors of homes or businesses, homeowners, business owners and managers can rest assured that these parties are being educated on the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, and are utilizing the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), such as facemasks and gloves while working in a location as a precaution to protect employees and customers.

Link: Pepco Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about PEPCO

DELMARVA Updates

Delmarva Power extends pandemic customer bill, service support programs until July 1

As individuals, families and communities continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delmarva Power is further extending the policies put in place to support customers during this time, including suspending service disconnections, waiving new late fees and reconnecting customers who were previously disconnected. The policies will now be in place until at least July 1.

Link: Delmarva Power extends pandemic customer bill, service support programs until July 1

Delmarva Power extends COVID-19 customer support efforts

NEWARK, Del. — To offer continued assistance for customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Delmarva Power is extending its customer support policies, through at least June 1, which include suspending service disconnections, waiving new late fees and reconnecting customers who previously were disconnected.

Link: Delmarva Power extends COVID-19 customer support efforts

Delmarva Power Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

  • We are closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking appropriate precautions to protect the health and safety of our customers, employees and contractors.
  • We have suspended service disconnections and waived new late payment charges at least until May 1 and will be working with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options.  
  • At this time, Delmarva Power will continue to respond to requests to start, stop or more service, which in many cases, can be done remotely.
  • In cases where accessing a building is necessary, our employees and contractors are being advised to take appropriate action, such as wearing appropriate PPE to perform their jobs safely.
  • Customers may continue to conduct regular business with Delmarva Power 24/7 using delmarva.com or the Delmarva Power Mobile App.

Link: Delmarva Power Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about Delmarva Power

Massachusetts

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Solar can repower our economy and save homeowners money

The pandemic has impacted all of us in different ways – whether it is the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job, it is clear that we have a long road ahead to recovery.

As Massachusetts continues to reopen, we are starting to see the groundwork for repowering our economy. Solar power and the clean energy sector are ready to create jobs in Lowell and throughout the commonwealth that could help provide relief from both the scourge of climate change and the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

Link: Solar can repower our economy and save homeowners money

Winchester promoting renewable electricity option

The need for cars and trucks to be on the road was diminished through the spring months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Non-essential offices closed.

Many citizens who were able to keep their jobs worked from home. Because of the lowered demand for autos to be on the road, greenhouse gas emissions decreased, but it was less than expected, according to Winchester Energy and Recycling Outreach Coordinator Fritzie Nace.

Link: Winchester promoting renewable electricity option

Senators Markey & Warren Call for Assistance for Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry in Corornavirus Relief Package

WASHINGTON DC – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today, June 10 called on U.S. Senate leadership to provide resources and assistance to support the Massachusetts clean energy industry and its workforce in any upcoming coronavirus relief packages.

In March and April, the clean energy sector lost nearly 600,000 jobs nationally, erasing more than twice as many jobs than it had created in the past three years. Massachusetts has been especially hard hit, losing nearly 19,000 clean energy jobs over those two months, including more than half of the solar energy workforce.

Link: Senators Markey & Warren Call for Assistance for Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry in Corornavirus Relief Package

Sense explains how COVID has changed home energy usage

Based on an analysis of changes in home energy trends across the country since COVID-19, Sense found that the average home electrical usage increased 22 percent compared to 2019, a reflection of people using more electricity while they stayed home. With this increase, most consumers will pay 22% more on their April electricity bill compared to April 2019, with a typical increase of $22-$25, and higher in states with steeper utility rates.

Link: Sense explains how COVID has changed home energy usage

Eversource Updates

Eversource Lowers Electricity Supply Rate

HYANNIS – Eversource customers who are on the company’s Basic Service Supply option are seeing savings on their electric bill after the Department of Public Utilities approved the energy company’s proposed electricity supply rate that is 21 percent lower than the previous rate.

Eversource secured the lower six-month price for customers thanks to a reduction in wholesale power prices. The rate took effect on July 1.

Link: Eversource Lowers Electricity Supply Rate

Massachusetts Loses 17,000 Clean Energy Jobs In March And April

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a worldwide recession and taken a significant toll on the Massachusetts clean energy economy.

WBUR senior environmental reporter Bruce Gellerman joined Morning Edition to discuss the green sector’s staggering job losses and what the future might hold.

Link: Massachusetts Loses 17,000 Clean Energy Jobs In March And April

We’re adapting to serve you

  • We are suspending disconnection of service for non-payment. 
  • We are eliminating late payment charges.
  • We are offering a special, flexible payment plan — with no down payment — for any past-due amount. Please contact us at 866-861-6225 to learn more.
  • We have energy-saving tips and resources to help you manage any potential increase in your energy use and costs now that many families are spending their weekdays at home.
  • We have enabled more than 80% of our Customer Service Representatives to take customer calls from home. Please be patient if you hear our families, pets, or other background noise.
  • Some of our field employees may be taking work vehicles home at the end of the day. If you see an Eversource vehicle in a private driveway, this is part of our plan to ensure a fast response in case of emergencies and to limit group interactions at our work centers.
  • We have online and mobile tools to help you conduct business with us as usual, including customer service agents to speak with by phone. Our mobile app allows you to easily check your account, pay your bill and more at your convenience.
  • For answers to commonly asked questions about Eversource and our response to COVID-19, visit our FAQ page

Link: We’re adapting to serve you

Learn more about Eversource Energy

MA Electric/National Grid Updates

National Grid settles on two proposals to address looming gas shortage

National Grid, after months of analysis and thousands of public comments, is recommending two potential solutions to address its projections for a looming natural gas shortage: the $1.44 billion undersea pipeline it has long sought or upgrades to existing facilities combined with green-energy measures.

In a report released last week as part of a settlement with the state, National Grid said COVID-19 and other factors led it to further lower its projections for increases in downstate demand for natural gas into the low single digits through next winter and for 15 years beyond.

Link: National Grid settles on two proposals to address looming gas shortage

COVID-19 and Your National Grid Service: What to Know

  • Collections activities & disconnections – We have temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These policies will remain in effect at least until the end of April when we will evaluate their continued need. More information on payment assistance programs, in general, can click here.
  • Non-essential planned electric outages – We know many individuals are working from home and children are home from school. We are limiting planned service interruptions during this time.  
  • Non-essential electric & gas related services – Planned maintenance and services such as manual meter reads, oil-to-gas conversions, gas service upgrades, and meter changes, may decrease the ability to keep social distance. Therefore, they will be paused. In the case of manual meter reads, this could result in estimated bills for some customers.  
  • Energy efficiency on-premise services – We are temporarily suspending all energy efficiency service activities, provided by our valued partners, that require home or business visits, such as energy audits.  
  • If it is necessary for our field workers to enter your premise for an emergency or essential response, we ask that you advise us if anyone in the home is ill or quarantined BEFORE allowing entry.
  • Similarly, if you are quarantined or sick and call us for an emergency or essential service, we ask that you advise us about the health conditions ahead of time. Our agents will work with you to determine best course of action.

Link: COVID-19 and Your National Grid Service: What to Know

Learn more about Massachusetts National Grid

Michigan

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Slotkin: Michigan families heading for ‘bit of a cliff’ as benefits expire

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, says Michigan families are about to go over a financial cliff.

While Congress is debating the HEROES Act — proposed legislation passed by House Democrats to infuse $3 trillion in COVID-19 relief into the economy — benefits such as an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits and moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures are expiring.

Link: Slotkin: Michigan families heading for ‘bit of a cliff’ as benefits expire

DTE approved to keep stable electric rates until 2022

DETROIT — DTE Electric, which services 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and services 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan, received approval last week from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for an innovative plan to keep electric rates unchanged from July 9, 2020 until 2022.

Following a 12-week moratorium on service interruptions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and $30-40 million bill reduction for electric customers in June and July, the regulatory plan maintains current electric rates to help customers as they recover from the virus pandemic.

Link: DTE approved to keep stable electric rates until 2022

Coldwater power charge goes up

Residential power customers of Coldwater Board of Public Utility Power will see about an average $2.03 increase in their bills beginning July 1.

It is not a rate increase, but a shift in the base energy charge that will have a greater impact on commercial and industrial accounts.

Manager Jeff Budd told his board last week “it’s complicated.” For almost half an hour he went through the details of how power is billed based on the base cost of 6.03 cents per kilowatt hour.

Link: Coldwater power charge goes up

Chair Hernandez leads Michigan House approval of COVID-19 relief for front-line workers, small businesses and families

The Michigan House, led by Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez, today approved federal funding to help the state bounce back from COVID-19. The $880 million included in the measure will assist small businesses restarting after the COVID-19 shutdown and provide relief for front-line workers.

The legislation also supports families across the state – from food banks and farms to schools, along with much-needed help navigating the unemployment benefits system.

Link: Chair Hernandez leads Michigan House approval of COVID-19 relief for front-line workers, small businesses and families

Michigan Issues Payments to Utilities for Low-income Customers to Help Them Keep Their Energy Services Connected During COVID-19

LANSING, MICH. Eligible state residents having trouble paying their energy bills during the COVID-19 pandemic are having payments made to their utility accounts by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to keep services connected.

The payments to utility companies, which equal more than $7 million for 17,937 households that have past-due accounts, will help energy customers keep services that may otherwise be disconnected once suspension of shutoffs during the pandemic ends in June.

Link: Michigan Issues Payments to Utilities for Low-income Customers to Help Them Keep Their Energy Services Connected During COVID-19

Who pays Michigan utilities’ coronavirus costs: customers or investors?

In late March, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued stay-at-home orders that required tens of thousands of factories, offices, stores, restaurants and other buildings that represent the state’s largest energy consumers to quickly empty.

Within days, industrial and commercial energy use in Michigan plummeted to what industry observers have characterized as unprecedented lows. As investor-owned utilities, like DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, distributed less power to customers throughout the state, their revenues dropped. Meanwhile, the companies absorbed new expenses that came with protecting staff from COVID-19 and from uncollected or extended customer payments during the lockdown.

Link: Who pays Michigan utilities’ coronavirus costs: customers or investors?

$7M of federal assistance coming to Michigan for utility bills

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Unemployment has been sent soaring due to COVID-19. According to the US Department of Labor, the U.S. unemployment rate increased to 14.7 percent, or 23.1 million people, in April.

With Michigan having the second highest unemployment rate in the country, federal help totaling over $7 million is on the way for those behind on utility payments.

“People have a lot of economic needs (during the pandemic) so we are doing whatever we can to help people pay their bills,” said Bob Wheaton, Michigan Department of Health and Human Service Public Information Officer.

Providers around Michigan, including Semco Energy, are ending their agreement to not cut off customer’s utility on June 12. With many still behind on their payments, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) stepped in.

Link: $7M of federal assistance coming to Michigan for utility bills

Regulated utilities extend protections, assistance for vulnerable households to June 12

LANSING — Michigan’s regulated utilities have agreed to extend, through mid-June, the shutoff protections, flexible payment plans and other options they’ve offered to help customers struggling to pay utility bills because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Utilities, including the state’s two largest Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, have extended protections for vulnerable customers through June 12, following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of her Stay Safer at Home order through that date. Filings with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) were made by utilities this week in Case No. U-20757 to extend these protections and provide more certainty for customers.

Link: Regulated utilities extend protections, assistance for vulnerable households to June 12

Over $7M available for Michigan residents to keep energy services connected during COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan residents having trouble paying their energy bills can receive payments to their utility accounts to keep services connected.

17,937 eligible households with past-due accounts will receive more than $7 million from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The energy services may otherwise have been disconnected when suspension of shutoffs during the pandemic ends on June 12th.

“Our partners across state government are working around the clock to ensure support for those who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a written statement.

Link: Over $7M available for Michigan residents to keep energy services connected during COVID-19

Consumers Energy Updates

Consumers Energy to provide 100,000 Google Nest thermostats to MI homes

JACKSON, MI (WILX) — Consumers Energy said it has partnered with Google and Uplight to provide Google Nest thermostats to up to 100,000 Michigan homes in order to help residents save money and energy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Consumers Energy is committed to Michigan’s success, and we’re excited to help so many of our friends and neighbors during these challenging times by putting this powerful technology into their hands at no cost,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “We want to give our customers more control to manage their energy use, helping reduce their bills while protecting the environment.”

Consumers Energy said the initiative is part of its Clean Energy Plan, which aims to eliminate coal and achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Consumers Energy said Google and Uplight are helping to provide Google Nest Thermostat E to customers through July 31.

Link: Consumers Energy to provide 100,000 Google Nest thermostats to MI homes

Consumers Energy partners with Habitat for Humanity to raise funds for COVID-19 aid

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Consumers Energy will donate $1 for every $2, up to $100,000, donated to Habitat for Humanity for COVID-19 aid.

In a written statement, Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity leaders said they had set a local goal of $10,000 to help fund critical housing needs in Calhoun County, with an overall goal of raising $200,000 by the end of September.

Link: Consumers Energy partners with Habitat for Humanity to raise funds for COVID-19 aid

COVID-19 Response Plan

  • Aligning with CDC guidelines, we’ve implemented steps to protect our employees and customers. We’ve also reduced service at our 13 direct payment offices to drop box and drive-thru only.
  • Payments left in drop boxes will be processed the same day and receipts will be mailed to customers’ homes.
  • Cash payments are accepted and any change from that payment will be applied toward your next bill.
  • Drive-thru windows remain open during business hours at our Flint and Traverse City direct payment offices.
  • Customers are also encouraged to pay online or find another payment location.

Link: COVID-19 Response Plan

Learn more about Consumers Energy

Detroit Edison (DTE) Updates

DTE Energy suspends non-critical and maintenance work amid coronavirus

DETROIT – DTE Energy is suspending all non-critical and maintenance work as the state deals with coronavirus.

The company says it is “safely winding down and voluntarily suspending for the time being all non-critical infrastructure and maintenance work as an additional measure to prioritize the health of its employees, customers and communities during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Link: DTE Energy suspends non-critical and maintenance work amid coronavirus

DTE Energy offers $30-40 million in bill relief for Michigan customers in June, July

Customers of DTE Energy in Michigan will benefit from $30-40 million in bill relief to be released during June and July when summer electric usage hits its peak.

The boon to consumers comes from lower generation costs that are themselves a result of greater efficiency and lower fuel prices. While it is a matter of passing savings on, DTE noted that the action is also a continuation of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, in a state that has seen its state of emergency over that disease extended until May 28

Link: DTE Energy offers $30-40 million in bill relief for Michigan customers in June, July

What we’re doing to keep you—and our team—safe and healthy

  • Shutoffs for non-payment will be suspended for low income customers (200% or less of Federal Poverty Level) through April 30, 2020. This timing could be extended depending on the impact that the virus has on our communities.
  • Customers enrolled in our Senior Winter Protection Program have had their end dates automatically extended through May 3rd without additional actions required on their part. 
  • DTE is encouraging customers facing financial hardship or medical conditions as a result of the pandemic to contact us at 800.477.4747. We have a variety of payment programs and we have flexibility to work with you.
  • DTE’s medical hold policy has been enhanced to include low income customers that are physically exposed, infected, or quarantined by the COVID-19 virus (including influenza) and deem them eligible for a 30-day medical hold on their account.
  • DTE Energy has a Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP) that offers a low, affordable payment plan for eligible income qualified families.
  • DTE’s crisis plans are designed to protect people and ensure energy operations and infrastructure continue to function.
  • DTE is only suspending non-critical work including main renewal, infrastructure construction and home energy consultations until further notice. 
  • DTE employees will continue to provide power outage restoration, gas leak and downed power line response to ensure public safety and mitigate power interruptions.

Link: What we’re doing to keep you—and our team—safe and healthy

Indiana Michigan Power Updates

Utilities seek COVID-19 hike

A group of Indiana utilities — including three that serve Jay County — has filed a joined petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission seeking permission to charge customers in an effort to recover revenue lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The utilities claim the healthcare crisis and “related government orders have resulted in significantly reduced load and revenues.” Among the ten utilities that signed the joint petition are Indiana Michigan Power, Ohio Valley Gas Corp. and Indiana Gas Co.

Link: Utilities seek COVID-19 hike

I&M’s Response to COVID-19 

  • We have temporarily suspended all service disconnections for non-payment. We know our customers are concerned about their families, and ensuring they have reliable electric service allows them to focus on staying healthy and well.
  • During this crisis, customers are still responsible for all billed electricity. We urge customers to make every effort to keep their accounts current during the period when disconnections are suspended.
  • Our team is monitoring guidance from the CDC and taking careful precautions to keep our workforce safe. Employees whose job functions allow them to work from home have been asked to do so.
  • We continue to monitor the situation and will update customers accordingly. In the meantime, we’re ready to answer your questions and address concerns at 1-800-311-4634 and through Facebook and Twitter.

Link: I&M’s Response to COVID-19

New Hampshire

Check electricity rates in New Hampshire

Low-Income Residents May Be Last To Lose Power

CONCORD — The state’s electric utilities have a conceptual agreement not to disconnect low-income customers unable to pay their bills until next spring. At a public hearing Tuesday before the Public Utilities Commission, residential advocates and utility representatives sought to find common ground to prevent residential customers adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic from losing their electric service.

Utilities, PUC staff and the governor’s office negotiated an agreement that would have begun the disconnection process in July for businesses, and in September for residential customers.

Link: Low-Income Residents May Be Last To Lose Power

Sununu vetoes energy, jobless bills, embraces prescription drugs, voting during COVID-19 bills

CONCORD – In a flurry, Gov. Chris Sununu last week vetoed five bills dealing with unemployment benefits, an independent review of the state’s response to COVID-19 in nursing homes, changing subsidies for renewable energy and giving labor unions access to public employees’ information.

But the two-term Republican did find some common ground with the Democratic-led Legislature, signing bills that reform prescription drug and absentee voting laws while maintaining substance abuse services in Nashua.

Link: Sununu vetoes energy, jobless bills, embraces prescription drugs, voting during COVID-19 bills

NH’s pandemic-scarred legislative session

The Legislature passed a trio of leftover major energy bills. One of them, Senate Bill 159, was already vetoed and overridden. Another two, SB 122 and SB 124, were passed at the end of the Senate’s session and likely to be vetoed again.

SB 122 would end the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative rebate for residential customers, fully expending it on low-income and municipal energy-efficiency programs. But commercial customers would still get a full rebate. SB 124 would increase the state’s renewable energy goal, currently 25%, to 56% by 2040…

Link: NH’s pandemic-scarred legislative session

Low-Income Residents In New Hampshire May Be Last To Lose Power

CONCORD, NH — The state’s electric utilities have a conceptual agreement not to disconnect low-income customers unable to pay their bills until next spring.

At a public hearing Tuesday before the Public Utilities Commission, residential advocates and utility representatives sought to find common ground to prevent residential customers adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic from losing their electric service.

Link: Low-Income Residents In New Hampshire May Be Last To Lose Power

Eversource puts in place new safety guidelines for energy efficiency services

Eversource is implementing new health and safety guidelines to ensure the well-being of customers and contractors while providing energy efficiency services.

Eversource worked with Environmental Health & Engineering, a health and safety consulting firm, to develop guidelines specific to energy efficiency work the company conducts for customers. The guidelines include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and enhanced sanitizing requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Link: Eversource puts in place new safety guidelines for energy efficiency services

N.H. Consumer Advocate Wants Public Rulemaking On Plans To End COVID-19 Utility Shutoff Ban

New Hampshire’s utility consumer advocate wants more transparency and public input on plans to lift the state’s ban on utility shutoffs this month. In a new emergency petition, ratepayer advocate Don Kreis says the state’s electric, water and gas utilities are reporting large swaths of customers who’ve held off paying their bills in the past few months.

He cites increases in overdue bills from a year ago, which the utilities presented to the Public Utilities Commission in mid-June, including:

  • Eversource: accounts receivable, more than 60 days old, are up 45%
  • Unitil: residential gas and electric accounts receivable, more than 90 days old, are up 28%
  • Liberty Utilities: gas customer payments are down as much as 29%

Link: N.H. Consumer Advocate Wants Public Rulemaking On Plans To End COVID-19 Utility Shutoff Ban

Bill would pay home batteries for peak shaving and avoiding power-line buildout

There’s a bill in the N.H. legislature that seems to support at-home, behind-the-meter battery storage. Senate Bill 498 says the Public Utilities Commission should establish special rates (“tariffs”) to reflect the value that home batteries can have in shaving off costly energy peaks when demand is high.

Also it would “require a utility to compensate a non-utility for a fair share, as determined by the commission, of the value of any transmission or distribution costs the utility is likely to avoid because of the non-utility energy storage project, to the extent practicable.”

The bill was passed by the Senate as part of a huge clump passed in one session June 16, trying to make up for time lost to COVID-19.

Link: Bill would pay home batteries for peak shaving and avoiding power-line buildout

AARP contests Eversource’s proposed rate hike, citing pandemic

A proposal by the state’s largest electric company to increase its distribution rates nearly 20 percent is facing renewed scrutiny as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

And one of the organizations that filed testimony last year opposing Eversource’s request for the N.H. Public Utilities Commission to approve the rate increase is now asking the commission to revisit the company’s calculations and projections.

Todd Fahey, AARP New Hampshire state director, said Tuesday that interest rates have dropped, energy demand is down, and a lot of state residents are struggling to make ends meet. And because all those things have happened since the pandemic began, Eversource’s original filing should be reviewed and the information in it updated.

Link: AARP contests Eversource’s proposed rate hike, citing pandemic

Is 2020 the year for expanded net-metering in New Hampshire?

We have been here before. In 2018, it was Senate Bill 446 sponsored by Republican Sen. Kevin Avard and many others. In 2019, it was House Bill 365 sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Howard Moffett with broad bipartisan co-sponsors. Now, in 2020, the full House is preparing itself to once again vote on the expansion of net-metering projects from 1 to 5 megawatts on June 11.

Twice before, these bills were approved by both the House and Senate, only later to be vetoed by the governor. So why will this year be any different?

Link: Is 2020 the year for expanded net-metering in New Hampshire?

Liberty Utilities Updates

Liberty Utilities COVID-19 Update

  • We have a pandemic preparedness plan in place and have established a task force that is working with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Walk-In Centers Closed Until Further Notice to Protect Health and Safety. 
  • To assist customers and communities during the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health emergency, Liberty Utilities has suspended service disconnections for non-payment. This temporary suspension, through at least May 1, 2020, includes residential and business customers. 
  • We continue to monitor the situation and actively share updates and information with our employees so that they can keep themselves and their families safe.
  • We have provided additional protective supplies and equipment to our frontline employees. We have limited employee travel, limited in-person meetings, and postponed larger gatherings and events.
  • To prevent the spread of the virus, we’re encouraging anyone who feels sick or has concerns regarding potential exposure to stay at home.
  • Customers may notice our customer service representatives and field team wearing gloves and additional protective equipment. You may also notice changes in how we greet customers in our contact centers and on service appointments, including social distancing of at least 6 feet. We hope you understand that this is for both customer and employee protection.
  • While our customer walk-in centers remain open to serve you, to practice social distancing, we encourage our customers to utilize our other payment methods available on our website, and to call us with questions at 1-800-833-4200. 

Link: Liberty Utilities COVID-19 Update

Learn more about Liberty Utilities

Unitil Updates

Unitil’s earnings hit by warmer winter, coronavirus

Climate change hurt Unitil Corp. more than the coronavirus in the first quarter that ended March 31.

“One of the warmest winters on record in our service area” caused customers to buy less natural gas to heat their homes, said chief financial officer Larry Brock during an April 30 earnings call. There were 13.2% fewer cold days than normal, he said.

Link: Unitil’s earnings hit by warmer winter, coronavirus

The Latest on Unitil’s Response to the Coronavirus

  • You will not have to worry about losing service while staying safe and caring for loved ones during this crisis. Until further notice, all shutoff and collection activities have been suspended.
  • We recognize flexibility and understanding is required as we work together to protect both the local businesses that drive our economy and our loved ones most at risk from this disease. All late payment or non-payment fees are currently being waived.
  • We will support your community. Unitil is committed to donating $75,000 to COVID 19 programs at the United Way and other local agencies designed to help combat food insecurity, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse, while also supporting first responders where we can.
  • Unitil’s customer service team will work with you to set up a personalized payment plan designed to spread costs out over time.
  • We are working with federal and local assistance agencies. Our customer service team can discuss a wide array of assistance programs, including those available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which may be able to help.
  • Unitil has created the Unitil Customer Assistance & Recovery Effort (U-CARE) Fund and has donated $150,000 to local Community Action Programs (CAPs) to aid residential customers with utility costs if they have been directly impacted by COVID 19-related job loss or reduced wages.   

Link: The Latest on Unitil’s Response to the Coronavirus

New Jersey

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Struggling Financially Due To COVID-19?

Expanded resources are now available at the Affordable Housing Alliance with funding provided by the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund

Today, New Jersey has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation at 16.2%, forcing many families and individuals across the state to reach out for help, but thanks to a $50,000 grant from the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF), the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA) will be able to provide enhanced on-site intake during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Link: Struggling Financially Due To COVID-19?

New Jersey bill would create equitable clean energy projects across the state

Legislation to ensure that overburdened communities in New Jersey have access to clean energy passed the state’s Senate Environment and Energy Committee this week.

The New Jersey Clean Energy Equity Act, Senate Bill 2484, would create the Office of Clean Energy Equity within New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and would give those living in low and mid-income communities the same access to clean energy as the rest of the state. Ten percent of the state’s clean energy budget would be used for the cause.

Link: New Jersey bill would create equitable clean energy projects across the state

Moratorium on Gas Shut Offs Extended In Response to COVID-19 Continuing Impacts

FOLSOM, NJ – July 10, 2020 – South Jersey Gas, subsidiary of SJI (NYSE: SJI), today announced that it is extending its voluntary moratorium on shut offs for non-payment through Labor Day, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘As we move forward together, we want to assure our customers and the communities we serve that South Jersey Gas remains committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable service,’ said Marissa Travaline, Vice President of Customer Experience, South Jersey Gas.

Link: Moratorium on Gas Shut Offs Extended In Response to COVID-19 Continuing Impacts

76% of New Jerseyans Support Using Renewable Energy to Reduce Electric Bills for Low-Income Families

Trenton, NJ — A new poll from Yale University, George Mason University and Climate Nexus found that at least 7 in 10 New Jerseyans support the proposals included in the New Jersey Clean Energy Equity Act currently on the agenda for the Senate Environment Committee meeting on July 16th. The bill aims to help low-income New Jersey families benefit from solar, storage and energy efficiency.

“New Jersey’s low-income families and residents of all incomes overwhelmingly support increasing access to affordable clean energy through the Clean Energy Equity Act,” said Pari Kasotia, Mid-Atlantic Director at Vote Solar. “Voters have made it clear that expanding access to clean energy should be central to COVID-19 recovery plans. State legislators have the public support and the plan to bring more clean energy to New Jersey. Now is the time to act.”

Link: 76% of New Jerseyans Support Using Renewable Energy to Reduce Electric Bills for Low-Income Families

Some face 25% jump in power bills, adding to summer of woe

As the U.S. faces a blisteringly hot summer, millions of people already reeling from the coronavirus’s economic fallout are about to face sharp increases in electric bills that may drive some to the brink of financial ruin.

With soaring temperatures expected in July and August, people stuck at home because they’re unemployed or working remotely will depend on air conditioners more than ever. That’s going to drive up power bills by as much as 25% in parts of the U.S. at a time when they were already a significant hardship for about 50 million people, according to analyst estimates and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Link: Some face 25% jump in power bills, adding to summer of woe

Households affected by COVID19-related job or income loss can apply for state and federal program to offset cost of home energy bills

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, millions have experienced unemployment or lost wages. The State of New Jersey is looking to utilize available programs to help offset energy costs for New Jersey residents financially impacted by the pandemic.

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is reminding residents and households that applications are still being accepted for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a federally-funded program in place to assists individuals and families with their home heating and medically-necessary cooling bills. The program provides emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance to those who qualify.

Link: Households affected by COVID19-related job or income loss can apply for state and federal program to offset cost of home energy bills

New Mandate Throttles Back Amount of Energy that Utility Customers Can Use

Utilities in New Jersey will be required to reduce how much gas and electricity their customers use after the state approved a comprehensive program mandating those reductions as part of efforts to cut energy consumption.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ adoption of a new energy efficiency program is widely viewed as the easiest and least expensive way to help meet the state’s clean-energy goals and to curb emissions contributing to climate change. The agency also aims to increase access to such programs to underserved communities.

Link: New Mandate Throttles Back Amount of Energy that Utility Customers Can Use

New Jersey Natural Gas Partners With Google and EFI to Provide Nearly Half a Million Free Smart Thermostats to New Jersey Households During Pandemic

WALL, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today announced it has partnered with Google Nest and Energy Federation Inc. (EFI) to provide the Google Nest Thermostat E at no cost to NJNG’s nearly half a million residential customers, helping households save energy and money.

This offer reinforces NJNG’s commitment to sustainability and delivering energy-efficiency solutions to help customers make energy decisions that save energy, lower energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.

Link: New Jersey Natural Gas Partners With Google and EFI to Provide Nearly Half a Million Free Smart Thermostats to New Jersey Households During Pandemic

Murphy announces $100M for rent assistance during pandemic; help also for home energy bills

Low- and moderate income families may see some rent relief during the pandemic. Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced a program to provide at least $100 million in short-term aid for tenants hard hit by the crisis. Assistance also is intended for the homeless, and persons at risk for homelessness.

The program will open for applications in July and begin paying rental assistance in September, according to the governor. Qualifying households will be expected to pay 30 percent of their income toward rent, and the program would pay the rest, up to DCA’s fair market rent payment standard.

Link: Murphy announces $100M for rent assistance during pandemic; help also for home energy bills

Residents can opt out of Princeton Community Renewable Energy program by May 6

Princeton residents who do not want to sign up for the Princeton Community Renewable Energy program, which will provide electricity with more renewable content and at a lower cost than PSE&G, have until May 6 to opt out of the program.

Link: Residents can opt out of Princeton Community Renewable Energy program by May 6

Atlantic City Electric Updates

Atlantic City Electric Extends Covid-19 Customer Support

As individuals, families and communities continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantic City Electric is further extending the policies put in place to support customers during this time, including suspending service disconnections, waiving new late fees and reconnecting customers who were previously disconnected. The policies will now be in place until at least July 1.

“We’re managing through difficult times with lots of uncertainty,” said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric. “By continuing these policies to keep energy service on and prevent additional fees, we want to provide our customers with a little more certainty in their lives. We want to make sure our customers have power and to offer support to those who may be struggling to make ends meet as we move through this crisis together.”

Link: Atlantic City Electric Extends Covid-19 Customer Support

Atlantic City Electric Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

  • To help ensure the safety of our customers and employees, we are closely following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eliminating all non-essential travel and abiding by all travel restrictions, and limiting large internal and external meetings and gatherings. 
  • Atlantic City Electric is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges at least until May 1 and will be working with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options.   
  • We are ensuring our essential employees who regularly interact with customers have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform their jobs safely.    
  • We have robust plans to provide continued energy service for our customers and do not foresee any issues meeting our customers’ energy needs.  
  • At this time, Atlantic City Electric will continue to respond to requests to start, stop or more service, which in many cases, can be done remotely, without accessing customer homes or businesses. 
  • Customers may continue to conduct regular business with Atlantic City Electric 24/7 using atlanticcityelectric.com or the Atlantic City Electric Mobile App. 

Link: Atlantic City Electric Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about Atlantic City Electric

Jersey Central (JCPL) Updates

A Message to Our Customers

  • We are closely monitoring developments related to this pandemic through our internal medical consultants as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization.
  • Our crews are focused on serving you while putting appropriate protective measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Keep in mind our line workers and field personnel perform almost all of their work outside of homes and businesses, with minimal interaction with customers or the general public. When such interactions are required, appropriate preventive measures like social distancing will be in place to help protect all parties.
  • We know our customers’ normal routines may be disrupted during this time, from altered work and school arrangements to cancelled events and travel plans. To help customers facing financial difficulties, we have suspended all service shutoffs for past-due accounts until further notice.
  • If you have trouble paying your bill, we are willing to work with you. Various payment options are available, including budget billing and energy assistance programs or other payment arrangements for eligible customers.
  • Unfortunately, this crisis also provides an opportunity for scammers, who prey on fears to achieve their illegal gains. Please remain alert to interactions that seem improper, including calls demanding payment to avoid immediate shutoff. If you sense something isn’t right, please call your utility customer service number. 

Link: A Message to Our Customers

Learn more about JCPL

PSEG Updates

PSEG, St. John’s Church partnership stronger than ever amid COVID-19 pandemic

St. John’s Roman Catholic Church and PSEG sit just blocks apart off McCarter Highway in Newark, but the coronavirus has caused some separation in the partnership that has lasted over 15 years. The church’s soup kitchen is currently serving upwards of 800 meals per day, and given that PSEG is proceeding with a “work from home” protocol, the company has not been there to pitch in with its usual volunteer effort.

Link: PSEG, St. John’s Church partnership stronger than ever amid COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus Update from PSEG

  • PSE&G is temporarily closing its customer service centers. The centers will be closed as of end of business on Tuesday, March 17. Our employees are available to provide the same excellent level of customer service through alternate means. Customers can engage with us via phone, text, chat, web, our mobile app and Amazon Alexa. The customer service phone line is 800-436-7734.
  • PSE&G has temporarily suspended various types of non-critical repair work on metering equipment to limit the number of service visits to customers’ homes. PSE&G will continue to respond to all emergency and essential work, such as gas leak calls, medical emergencies, no-heat and no-hot-water calls. All customer service work to be completed will be done according to safety protocols, including social distancing and proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • PSE&G has suspended shut-offs of electric and/or gas service to residential customers for non-payment. This will give customers experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the outbreak additional time to pay their bills. For more information, visit pseg.com/help

Link: Coronavirus Update from PSEG

Learn more about PSEG

New York

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Planned solar array could benefit property owners

ESOPUS, N.Y. — The town says a planned 2-megawatt solar power array will provide an option for renewable energy and lower utility bills to as many as 400 property owners.

Alicia Scott, project manager for Poughkeepsie-based BQ Energy, told the Town Board last week that it has taken about three years for Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. to sign off on a connection, but that it now is expected to cost about $500,000 instead of an earlier estimate of $1.7 million.

The new array would be next to Esopus’ 600-kilowatt solar array at the former town landfill on Lake Shore Drive. That project was completed in 2017, three years later than planned due to problems with a developer.

Link: Planned solar array could benefit property owners

Utility bills will likely increase by 10% on average in big cities this summer

With millions of Americans still at home, about 1 in 3 people nationwide are expected to see their utility bills go up by at least 10% this summer.

That’s according to renewable energy company Arcadia, which measured the increase in residential energy use from 10,000 customer households across 13 major U.S. cities in March and April 2020 to estimate how much more power Americans consume when under stay-at-home orders or unemployed.

Link: Utility bills will likely increase by 10% on average in big cities this summer

RG&E, NYSEG costs increasing: Here’s how much your bill will increase and when

Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric & Gas customers can expect double-digit percentage increases to their electric-delivery rate over the next three years.

New York utility regulators and the utility agreed to terms of a three-year rate settlement that will delay the implementation of higher rates until October. New rates were originally scheduled to go into effect in May.

Link: RG&E, NYSEG costs increasing: Here’s how much your bill will increase and when

New York Passes Landmark Utility Shutoff Law

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law to protect water rights and access to other utilities during the COVID-19 state of emergency in New York State.

This comes as other state and local moratoriums on water shutoffs have been starting to expire, removing protections and leaving an additional 12 million people at risk of losing water service amidst the pandemic. Already three statewide orders, another three partial statewide orders and at least 38 local moratoriums have expired.

Link: New York Passes Landmark Utility Shutoff Law

State to study how pandemic should impact utility bills

ALBANY — New York state wants to make sure that future utility bills for things like gas and electric service reflect the financial struggle that consumers and businesses are going through as part of the coronavirus pandemic.

And that could potentially mean lower utility bills in the future after the state Public Service Commission announced Thursday it would open an inquiry into how utilities like National Grid should structure rates given the layoffs and changes in work habits following stay-at-home and business closure orders.

Link: State to study how pandemic should impact utility bills

Coronavirus News: New legislation would provide assistance for families struggling to pay rent, utilities

NEW YORK (WABC) — Senator Charles Schumer says he is pushing for the passage of the COVID-19 Legislation in the Senate.

The legislation would provide much-needed assistance for families struggling to pay their rent and utility bills. Renters are currently shielded by temporary bans on evictions, but those protections will eventually end.

“The end-of-the-month should not be the end of the financial line for New York’s working families,” said Schumer.

Link: Coronavirus News: New legislation would provide assistance for families struggling to pay rent, utilities

New York Revises Demand Response in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic

In a big win for the demand response industry and its customers, the New York Public Service Commission (NY-PSC) issued an emergency order calling on the state’s utilities to revise their summer demand response programs in light of the coronavirus pandemic and New York’s stay-at-home orders.

Effective May 14, the order compels many of the state’s utilities to submit revised demand response programs and tariff structures to the commission by June 1. These tariff changes will go into effect the same day, and impact the 2020 Summer Capability Period (May-October) with the possibility of extension.

Link: New York Revises Demand Response in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 wallops New York green-energy sector

Energy-efficiency work has stopped, new rooftop solar installations are largely grounded and state and local budgets have a new factor weighing on them: COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has walloped Long Island’s green-energy sector with the same impact it has other industries.

Local green-energy companies say the broadside comes at a particularly delicate time. The sector was getting a second wind with new PSEG and LIPA solar and heat-pump programs — along with a major lift from a state agenda that calls for a carbon-free electric grid by 2040.

Link: COVID-19 wallops New York green-energy sector 

Con Edison Updates

Con Edison donates equipment and funding to COVID-19 relief

A company that is known for providing electricity to people’s homes has stepped up and helped with COVID-19 relief.

The Con Edison energy company and its thousands of employees have donated money, personal protective equipment and utility services and launched initiatives to assist community nonprofits throughout the five boroughs and Westchester County.

“These heroes are people we know, and they need our help,” said John McAvoy, CEO and chairman of Con Edison. “Our employees are also on the frontline maintaining essential electric, gas and steam services. By doing our jobs other first responders can do their work.”

Link: Con Edison donates equipment and funding to COVID-19 relief 

Help During Coronavirus

  • We are not expecting any service interruptions because of the coronavirus outbreak, but we are making operational changes to protect you and our workforce.
  • We will only do work that requires us to enter your home or building for emergencies, safety-related inspections and upon your request for critical issues, including turning on service.
  • We are suspending meter readings. If you have access to your meter, you can still report your usage online.
  • Our walk-in centers are closed until further notice.
  • The best way to do business with us is through My Account (online). Our call center is open but wait times may be longer than usual. 
  • We are postponing smart-meter installations.
  • Your service will not be shut off for non-payment.
  • If you have an emergency, call 911 or us at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

Link: Help During Coronavirus 

Learn more about Con Edison

Ohio

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Summer Heat Adding to Customers’ Utility bill Woes During Pandemic

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/ WRGT) – The summer months mean high temps and even higher utility bills. For families already struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic, the extra costs can be difficult to pay.

Michael Zimmerman, with the Montgomery County Business Services, said hundreds of other families are in the same boat.

“We know that so many people lost their jobs really suddenly, and we know how difficult and how stressful it is to not be able to make those bills,” Zimmerman said.

Link: Summer Heat Adding to Customers’ Utility bill Woes During Pandemic

More than 45,000 local residents risk losing power or water after Ohio moratorium on shutoffs lifted

After a months-long pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, local utilities are gearing up to resume disconnections for customers who haven’t paid their bills.

That means more than 45,000 residents behind on their bills could soon be at risk of losing power or water at a time when many are struggling to find work or pay their rent, based on figures released by the largest utilities in the area.

Link: More than 45,000 local residents risk losing power or water after Ohio moratorium on shutoffs lifted

HEAP Summer Crisis Program available

The Ohio Development Services Agency and Bridges Community Action Partnership will help income-eligible Ohioans maintain their utility service through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program, which runs from July 1 through Sept. 30.

This year, households that were diagnosed with COVID-19 have a disconnect notice, have been shut off, or are trying to establish new service on their electric bill are also eligible for assistance.

Link: HEAP Summer Crisis Program available

AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is Accepting Applications for Summer Cooling & COVID-19 Assistance

GAHANNA, Ohio, June 30, 2020 – The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is now accepting applications for utility assistance grants for the 2020 summer cooling season.

Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, and Dollar Energy Fund, eligible AEP Ohio customers who need help during the summer months can apply for assistance to maintain or restore their electric service.

Link: AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is Accepting Applications for Summer Cooling & COVID-19 Assistance

Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program is there for you

The Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program provides a one-time benefit to eligible Ohioans with cooling assistance during the summer months. The program runs from July 1 to September 30.

The focus of the Summer Crisis Program is to provide assistance with electric utility bills, central air conditioning repairs, and air conditioning unit and/or fan purchases.

Link: Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program is there for you

Dominion Energy Ohio expands financial assistance options due to COVID-19 unemployment surge

With unemployment figures still rising and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing without relief, Dominion Energy Ohio announced this week that it would increase support to programs for customers in need, provide payment flexibility and waive both deposit fees and late fees.

The greater push for payment flexibility continues trends started in March when Dominion Energy voluntarily suspended disconnections for late payments. While the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has since requested utilities offer plans for resumption of normal credit procedures, Dominion’s will be gradual, spread over months. Work toward that normalcy will resume after Aug. 3.

Link: Dominion Energy Ohio expands financial assistance options due to COVID-19 unemployment surge

HEAP Summer Crisis Program Starts July 1

Beginning July 1, the Ohio Development Services Agency and CAO of Scioto County will help income-eligible Ohioans maintain their utility service through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program. The program helps eligible Ohioans pay an electric bill, purchase an air conditioning unit or fan, or pay for central air conditioning repairs. This year, the program will run from July 1 until September 30, 2020.

“This year, we’ve extended the length of the program and expanded eligibility requirements so we can help more Ohioans during this health crisis,” Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency said. “We’re working with CAO of Scioto County every day to help Ohioans in need.”

Link: HEAP Summer Crisis Program Starts July 1

DP&L residential customers will pay less on monthly electric bill

DAYTON, Ohio, June 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Dayton Power & Light Company (DP&L), a subsidiary of The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES), today announced it has decreased the price by 4.5% for residential customers who receive their power supply from the utility.

This month, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity monthly will pay $4.47 less than in prior months. DP&L’s residential rates are the lowest in Ohio and this reduction provides even greater savings, representing an average of $54 on their annual electric bill.

Link: DP&L residential customers will pay less on monthly electric bill

In Ohio’s coal country, pandemic pushes unemployment rate from bad to worse

Ohio’s coal mining counties have been hit even harder as unemployment surged following the country’s coronavirus outbreak. As the statewide unemployment rate moved from 4.7% in February to 5.6% in March, counties in Appalachian Ohio also saw rates twice as high — up to 12.2% in Monroe County. The six counties with the highest percentages of people out of work in March were all in the state’s Appalachian region.

Link: In Ohio’s coal country, pandemic pushes unemployment rate from bad to worse

AEP Ohio Updates

AEP Ohio extends utility assistance program through June 30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — AEP Ohio announced Thursday that it’s extending availability of its Neighbor to Neighbor Utility Assistance Program to eligible customers through June 30, 2020. The change is due to financial challenges individuals and families may be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company, and Dollar Energy Fund, the Neighbor to Neighbor Program supports families in need with a grant applied directly to their AEP Ohio account to prevent disconnection of, or to restore their electric service. Heating assistance is available once per program year on a first-come, first-served basis.

Link: AEP Ohio extends utility assistance program through June 30

COVID-19: How We’re Responding

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and are taking steps to reduce its impact locally by:

  • Temporarily suspending disconnections for non-payment
  • Working with customers who anticipate problems paying their electric bills
  • Eliminating face-to-face interactions with customers

As we work to keep the power flowing, we will continue to look for ways to support our customers and communities during these uncertain times. 

Link: COVID-19: How We’re Responding

Learn more about AEP Ohio

Dayton Power & Light Updates

Ohio policies cushion the pandemic’s impact on electric utilities

Ohio utilities saw electricity sales drop this spring as the coronavirus pandemic prompted schools and businesses across the state to close. The drop in energy use, however, did little to hurt profits as both FirstEnergy and American Electric Power shared positive results with investors.

The apparent disconnect can be explained by the complicated way in which utilities earn revenue, which largely comes from fees, riders, guaranteed returns on investments and other sources beyond base distribution charges for actual electricity use.

Link: Ohio policies cushion the pandemic’s impact on electric utilities

DP&L COVID-19 Resources

  • Crews will continue to respond to power outages and electrical emergencies. If you experience a power outage, please visit our Outage Center to report it and stay informed of your status. 
  • DP&L technicians and contractors will continue to complete service orders such as new electric connections, requested disconnections, and reconnection of service. 
  • While DP&L is offering additional support to help customers facing financial challenges, including suspending disconnection of service for nonpayment, customers will be responsible to pay for energy used during this time. We encourage customers to continue to make payments if they are able to avoid paying off a larger balance later.
  • We also recommend that customers avoid making payments at our Pay-in-Person locations to limit in-person contact, and take advantage of our convenient online payment options.
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has issued an order to utility companies suspending all in-person meter readings while we operate under the State of Emergency. 
  • DP&L is closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, and we remain in contact with our state and local officials. DP&L has activated its emergency business continuity response plan. 

Link: DP&L COVID-19 Resources

Duke Energy Updates

Duke Energy braces for Covid-19 impact with up to $450M in cost cuts; layoffs not part of current plan

Duke Energy Corp. missed analysts’ expectations for first-quarter earnings, but the company says it still expects to hit its full-year earnings projections despite looming hits from the Covid-19 crisis.

To maintain full-year earnings, the company has introduced several cost-saving measures, says Chief Financial Officer Steve Young. They include a hiring freeze, reduced contractor costs, curtailing overtime and more efficiently scheduling plant outages. For now, those measures do not include any furloughs or layoffs at the company. Duke, he said, is looking to minimize the impact on employees.

Link: Duke Energy braces for Covid-19 impact with up to $450M in cost cuts; layoffs not part of current plan

Important COVID-19 Updates

  • We’re prepared to continue to deliver reliable power during the COVID-19 outbreak, and our teams continue to monitor the situation and reassess our plans as needed. 
  • We’re implementing preventive measures to help keep our employees as safe as possible. All those who are able to perform their work without being in an office or facility are working remotely. Employees whose work requires in-person customer interaction may cancel or reschedule nonurgent appointments and services. 
  • When employees must be on-site, they have been directed to not shake hands, remain at least 6 feet away from other individuals, or to use virtual forms of communication where possible.
  • We’re taking steps to ensure the stability and continuity of our operations, including resource and supply chain planning. 
  • Our employees and contractors are taking many additional steps right now to help protect the team’s health and safety – and our ability to generate and deliver reliable power. 
  • We understand that many customers may be facing unexpected financial hardships. To help, we have suspended disconnections for nonpayment for home and business accounts during this time. Effective March 21, we will waive all fees for late payments and returned checks, and for credit or debit card payments for residential accounts. 
  • We are relaxing our usual timelines for payment arrangements. Customers who were recently disconnected can contact us to make arrangements for service restoration.

Link: Important COVID-19 Updates

Learn more about Duke Energy

Pennsylvania

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More financial assistance may be on the way for Pennsylvanians struggling to pay utility bills

HARRISBURG — As regulators struggle to decide when to end Pennsylvania’s moratorium on utility shutoffs, a Republican lawmaker is seeking support to offer financial assistance to households and small businesses behind on their bills because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, the Public Utility Commission directed all companies under its purview to halt electric, water, gas, and other utility shutoffs, and to reconnect service to any terminated customers. The moratorium was set to last until the end of Gov. Tom Wolf’s disaster declaration, which he extended for 90 more days in June.

Link: More financial assistance may be on the way for Pennsylvanians struggling to pay utility bills

Pa. coronavirus relief programs benefit low-income households

Low-income Pennsylvania residents can apply for two state programs that can help compensate for the loss of $600 in federal unemployment benefits.

With the $600 a week in unemployment benefits ending in three weeks, Pennsylvania human services officials are reminding residents they may qualify for other pandemic-related state assistance programs.

Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller outlined two temporary programs available during a joint press update with Labor Secretary Jerry Olesiak on Wednesday.

Link: Pa. coronavirus relief programs benefit low-income households

State promotes programs as federal assistance winds down

Pennsylvania is preparing to support residents in need as a federal program providing an extra $600 per week to unemployed Americans ends this month.

The federal CARES Act passed in March set aside an additional $600 per week in unemployment insurance to keep millions of Americans solvent during COVID-19 business closures and stay-at-home orders.

Many are receiving the money on top of their state benefits, but the program is set to end later this month if the federal government does not extend it.

Link: State promotes programs as federal assistance winds down

PECO expands COVID-19 assistance

PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility, recently expanded its COVID-19 support policies through at least July 1. The COVID-19 policies were designed in mid-March to offer assistance to customers impacted by the pandemic and to ensure all customers have access to safe and reliable electric service.

Policies include waiving new late fees, reconnecting customers who were previously disconnected, and suspending service disconnections.

Link: PECO expands COVID-19 assistance

Ligonier Twp. could face 2021 tax increase due to pandemic

According to Ligonier Township’s manager, it’s not a question of whether residents will see a tax increase in 2021 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but rather how much that increase will be.

Manager Terry Carcella on Tuesday provided the board of supervisors with an 18-month budget projection based on Ligonier Township’s financials through the end of May. He reported that the township expects to be 9% below budget levels and could end 2020 with a $261,000 deficit, based on the loss percentage of earned income and amusement taxes from Pennsylvania’s statewide economic shutdown.

Link: Ligonier Twp. could face 2021 tax increase due to pandemic

Human Services Extends Emergency Assistance Program

HARRISBURG – The Department of Human Services (DHS) on Wednesday announced a one-month extension of the temporary Emergency Assistance Program (EAP).

The department also reminded Pennsylvanians of other assistance programs that remain available, as the commonwealth reopens and Pennsylvanians recover from economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

“We know these times are extremely challenging, but you do not have to go through this period alone. If you need help feeding your children, cooling your home, or affording other necessities, DHS is here for you,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller.

Link: Human Services Extends Emergency Assistance Program

Pa. introduces COVID-19 version of LIHEAP, offering up to $800 toward utility costs

A new version of LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is being offered for Pennsylvania residents because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistance of up to $800 with home energy bills is available to qualifying renters and homeowners, and the program will run through Aug. 31, 2020, or until all budgeted funding is expended.

The state Department of Human Services, which administers the program, said it will also automatically issue a $100 supplemental payment to vendors for approximately 100,000 households that received LIHEAP Crisis funds over the winter 2019-2020 season.

Link: Pa. introduces COVID-19 version of LIHEAP, offering up to $800 toward utility costs

PPL Electric Updates

More help for PPL Electric Utilities customers in unprecedented times

The impacts of the coronavirus epidemic are everywhere. There is the sad toll of illnesses and lives lost. There are economic repercussions in millions of lost jobs, closed businesses and more.

The economic effects may make it harder for some customers to pay their electric bill and we’ve taken steps to help.

Link: More help for PPL Electric Utilities customers in unprecedented times

Coronavirus: Important Updates and Help for Our Customers

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our first job remains to safely and reliably deliver electricity to your home or business. We will be posting critical updates to this page as the situation evolves.

Link: Coronavirus: Important Updates and Help for Our Customers

Duquesne Light Updates

Keeping the power on: lessons from utility workers on the new workplace

If you want a glimpse into what work will look like when the “nonessentials” return, there’s a group with insider knowledge. The “essentials” who’ve kept the lights on and the gas flowing during the shutdown.

People like Josh Ewing, a senior underground splicer for Duquesne Light, whose past few months of isolating from most of his colleagues and social distancing even with his six-person crew may be a kind of new normal for all of us.

Link: Keeping the power on: lessons from utility workers on the new workplace

DLC is Committed to Your Safety and Our Community

  • We are discontinuing service shutoffs until at least May 1, 2020
  • We are waiving late fees until at least May 1, 2020
  • We’re providing safe & reliable power to the community through increased inspections of equipment powering critical facilities, such as hospitals, around-the-clock field operations to improve response times and continuing work required for the safety of customers and the community.
  • We’re protecting employees and customers through implementing paid time off and special leave policies for employees impacted by COVID-19 and school closures, alternative and remote work assignments for office-based employees and social distancing policies.
  • We’ve donated $500,000 to the Emergency Action Fund to provide rapid and effective relief to those impacted by COVID-19

Link: DLC is Committed to Your Safety and Our Community

Learn more about Duquesne Light Company

PECO Energy Updates

PECO adds ‘thank you’ to Crown Lights, says customers don’t have to worry about shutoffs through July

PECO announced on Friday that its moratorium on shutoffs and offer of free reconnections would be extended through at least July 1. It also added a special “thank you” to essential workers to its Crown Lights rotation.

The high-visibility display encircling the energy provider’s headquarters at 2301 Market St. has been beaming its messages for more than four decades now, in LED color since 2009.

Usually stocked with a variety of PSAs from local community and nonprofit orgs, it has also been deployed for a variety of creative uses. Two years ago, it lit up with an animated version of the “double doink” missed field goal that contributed to the Eagles 2018 Super Bowl win. (It purposely did not show a good luck message during the playoffs that year, for fear of a jinx.)

One of six COVID-related messages on display right now, the thank you is meant to show support for first responders, healthcare professionals and other essential workers — including PECO workers themselves.

Link: PECO adds ‘thank you’ to Crown Lights, says customers don’t have to worry about shutoffs through July

PECO Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Effective March 13, 2020, PECO is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges through at least May 1, 2020. 
  • Customers are reminded of payment options, like Budget Billing, which averages payments over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill.
  • In addition to our own programs, we work day-in and day-out with community and government partners to get funding into the hands of those customers who need it most.
  • Customers who have had their electric service disconnected should contact PECO at 1-800-494-4000 to begin the reconnection process. No new connection fees or deposits will be required, however customers will continue to be responsible for previous unpaid balances.
  • PECO will not restore service where unsafe conditions exist and will work with agencies, where possible, to identify support to assist in correcting unsafe conditions before service is reconnected.
  • To ensure customers receive the most up-to-date information from PECO, they are encouraged to register for “My Account,” an easy, online interactive tool that provides customers with the ability to set alerts and provide important contact information. Sign up at peco.com/myaccount.
  • Beginning Monday, March 16, to ensure the safety of our employees and customers, our Customer Solution Center will be closed. 
  • All employees are being educated on the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, and any employee who may have symptoms will be evaluated by a medical professional and self-quarantined as a precaution for their health and the health of others. 
  • It may be necessary for employees to wear appropriate equipment, such as facemasks and gloves while working in a location, as a precaution to protect employees and customers. 

Link: PECO Taking Steps to Support Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Learn more about PECO

Illinois

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Ameren Illinois helping customers with bill payment assistance during COVID-19

Ameren Illinois has allocated $8 million in bill payment assistance to help qualified residential customers reduce or eliminate a past-due account balance.

Under the “Fresh Start” program, up to $700 is available for customers struggling to pay energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the program opened July 9, nearly 5,000 Ameren Illinois customers have received bill payment assistance.

Link: Ameren Illinois helping customers with bill payment assistance during COVID-19

Resources available to help Illinoisans pay electric bills

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — COVID-19 is forcing some people to fall behind on their electricity bills. Electric service companies are offering programs to help pay for some of the bills during this difficult time.

Electric service companies, like Ameren Illinois, understand the hardship that the pandemic has put on many families and individuals.

Ameren Illinois is offering their COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recover Program that gives direct assistance to qualified customers.

Link: Resources available to help Illinoisans pay electric bills

What states can learn from Illinois’ new COVID-19 utility relief agreement

A settlement last week extends the state’s moratorium on utility shutoffs and provides $47 million in bill relief funding.

Illinois regulators approved a wide-ranging COVID-19 utility relief agreement Thursday that extends the state’s moratorium on utility service shut-offs until at least late July and provides nearly $50 million to help customers pay overdue bills.

Link: What states can learn from Illinois’ new COVID-19 utility relief agreement

State Sen. Sue Rezin supports utility relief agreement

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, supports a utility relief agreement that will help utility customers who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois Commerce Commission has unanimously approved an agreement between the Attorney General’s Office, the state’s largest utilities, and other consumer advocate groups that ensures eligible utility customers can continue to receive services once the current moratorium on disconnections expires. It also offers more flexibility when it comes to credit and collection procedures for customers who have been financially struggling due to COVID-19.

Link: State Sen. Sue Rezin supports utility relief agreement

Illinois utilities work with ICC to create COVID-19 relief measures for customers

Both ComEd and Ameren Illinois have released new measures to support customers struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of cooperation with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and stakeholders.

“Although ComEd’s bills are lower than they were more than a decade ago, we recognize that our bills are only one piece of the puzzle as many Illinois families are experiencing financial hardship and related anxiety right now,” ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez said.

Link: Illinois utilities work with ICC to create COVID-19 relief measures for customers

Emergency assist programs expanded

SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois prepares to enter the next phase of Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan, his administration is launching a number of initiatives to help individuals and families who have been financially impacted from the economic shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Link: Emergency assist programs expanded

Utilities agree to enact consumer protections

The office of Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with consumer groups and the Illinois Commerce Commission, has entered into an agreement with utility companies to enact consumer protections once the Illinois Commerce Commission’s shut-off and late fee moratorium has lifted. This moratorium was instituted to provide relief to utility customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Illinois residents are still experiencing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Raoul said. “My office advocated on behalf of consumers not only to ensure residents will have access to manageable repayment plans and bill assistance so that they stay connected to vital utility services, but also to provide regulators with data to assess whether particular communities, including communities of color, are being disproportionately impacted by a utility’s disconnection and credit and collections processes.”

Link: Utilities agree to enact consumer protections

Utility bill help available for those affected by COVID-19

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — One-time energy assistance grants are available to people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants are available via the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, which administers the Illinois Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. That federally-funded program (LIHEAP) received additional money allocated to it as a result of the passage of the the CARES act earlier this year.

Grants are available until June 30 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Link: Utility bill help available for those affected by COVID-19

Rhode Island

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With New Municipal Programs, Rhode Island Electricity Will Contain More Local Renewable Energy

Get ready for more renewable energy in the local electric grid as a process called “community-choice aggregation” (CCA) expands in Rhode Island.

CCA, also known as municipal-energy aggregation, allows cities and towns to buy electricity for all of its ratepayers from third parties, either on their own or in partnerships with other municipalities. Fixed-price contracts, lower energy costs — thanks to competitive energy bidding — and a greater share of renewable energy in the electricity mix are the primary goals of this practice, which is common in Massachusetts and about to get a toehold in Rhode Island.

Link: With New Municipal Programs, Rhode Island Electricity Will Contain More Local Renewable Energy

PUC Sees Systemic Crisis as Utility Shutoffs Ban Extended

As the coronavirus pandemic endures, utility shutoffs and bill collections have again been suspended by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC). But this time the order only applies to National Grid.

For the sixth time since March, the PUC on July 13 voted to prohibit Rhode Island’s primary electric and natural-gas utility from halting service for nonpayment, ceasing notices to collection agencies and refraining from sending termination notices with shutoff dates.

Link: PUC Sees Systemic Crisis as Utility Shutoffs Ban Extended

National Grid Updates

COVID-19 and Your National Grid Service: What to Know

  • Collections activities & disconnections – We have temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These policies will remain in effect at least until the end of April when we will evaluate their continued need. More information on payment assistance programs, in general, can click here.
  • Non-essential planned electric outages – We know many individuals are working from home and children are home from school. We are limiting planned service interruptions during this time.  
  • Non-essential electric & gas related services – Planned maintenance and services such as manual meter reads, oil-to-gas conversions, gas service upgrades, and meter changes, may decrease the ability to keep social distance. Therefore, they will be paused. In the case of manual meter reads, this could result in estimated bills for some customers.  
  • Energy efficiency on-premise services – We are temporarily suspending all energy efficiency service activities, provided by our valued partners, that require home or business visits, such as energy audits.  
  • If it is necessary for our field workers to enter your premise for an emergency or essential response, we ask that you advise us if anyone in the home is ill or quarantined BEFORE allowing entry.
  • Similarly, if you are quarantined or sick and call us for an emergency or essential service, we ask that you advise us about the health conditions ahead of time. Our agents will work with you to determine the best course of action.

Link: COVID-19 and Your National Grid Service: What to Know

Texas

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Austin Energy sees increase in at-home energy use since COVID-19 crisis

AUSTIN, Texas — We’re doing a lot more at home these days, and it’s likely your utility bill reflects that. If you are using more energy since the COVID-19 crisis began, you’re not alone.

According to data from Austin Energy, from March 28 to May 1 the power company saw a 10% increase in residential use and a 17% decrease in commercial use compared to that time in 2019. Remember, the end of March is when the City of Austin began its stay-at-home order and many businesses had to close their doors.

Link: Austin Energy sees increase in at-home energy use since COVID-19 crisis

TXU Energy Expands Signature Summer Assistance Program to Help More Texans Stay Safe and Cool

IRVING, Texas, July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With the official arrival of triple-digit temperatures, TXU Energy is proud to launch its 22nd annual Beat the Heat program and events. This year, the company is expanding its efforts as more Texans face financial hardships related to the effects of COVID-19.

With social distancing in mind, the 2020 program includes drive-thru distributions of new air conditioning units and fans, education on heat safety, easy-to-use tips for saving on energy costs, and information on financial assistance for TXU Energy customers.

Link: TXU Energy Expands Signature Summer Assistance Program to Help More Texans Stay Safe and Cool

Texas Public Utility Commission Extends Electricity Payment Assistance

The Texas Public Utility Commission has extended the state’s Electricity Relief Program through Aug. 31. The program, which was originally scheduled to end on July 17, helps low-income and out-of-work Texans pay their electricity bills.

“This pandemic has presented Texas with a dynamic set of challenges that require us to be flexible and nimble in our approach,” said PUC Chair DeAnn Walker. “While we certainly wish we could snap our fingers and make this virus go away, it’s clearly with us for the long haul, and we need to reflect that in our decisions.”

Link: Texas Public Utility Commission Extends Electricity Payment Assistance

A COVID-19 hit to public power? For some, it’s not all bad

At a May meeting of the board of directors of the Brownsville, Texas, Board of Public Works, the utility’s director of finance Mike Perez made an announcement that was perhaps surprising in the middle of a pandemic.

“April was a good month,” Perez said. Revenue was up, in part due to customers staying home and using more electricity. Accounts receivable were “in line” with the same period a year ago, indicating that customers were mostly able to pay their bills. “We are not seeing anything alarming so far,” Perez said.

Link: A COVID-19 hit to public power? For some, it’s not all bad

Ways You Can Get Help Paying Summer Power Bills

Many families’ budgets have been stretched to their limits during the pandemic, and they may be wondering what resources are available to help pay for their power bills this summer. Aid programs exist, but you may want to hurry to get help.

Air conditioning typically accounts for nearly 50% of electric bills in Texas during the summer months, Leslie Sopko, communications manager for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said Wednesday. ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers — representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load.

Link: Ways You Can Get Help Paying Summer Power Bills

Local relief fund for COVID-19 will soon include small businesses

BELL COUNTY, Texas — The pandemic changed countless lives. Some faced cut hours, layoffs and furloughs. All of this made paying the bills even more stressful.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. Things were getting tight,” Killeen resident Lacretia Billie said. Billie works at a local church and due to the pandemic, her hours got cut. At her job, she usually helps others by talking about available resources.

“I try to help them. Well, here I am. I need a little assistance,” Billie said. The assistance came in the form of the COVID-19 relief fund from United Way of Central Texas.

Link: Local relief fund for COVID-19 will soon include small businesses

Few Texans apply for electricity payment help

Only a fraction of Texans who have lost their jobs in the coronavirus pandemic have signed up for financial help to pay their electricity bills. The Public Utility Commission launched an emergency program in March that pays a substantial portion of the power bills of eligible residents.

It was designed as short-term assistance, a way for Texans to get back on their feet while much of the Texas economy was closed.

Link: Few Texans apply for electricity payment help

Pandemic forces dozens of changes in how Texas power sector operates: panelists

Houston — Top generation, transmission and retail electricity executives said June 4 that their policies responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic are likely to persist for months, even as an industrial trade group’s executive raised the possibility of significant power demand growth.

During a Gulf Coast Power Association virtual seminar entitled, “Real World Impacts of COVID-19 on the Electric Power Industry,” Curt Morgan, Vistra Energy president and CEO, said, “We have counted over 100 activities now that we were not doing three months ago.”

Link: Pandemic forces dozens of changes in how Texas power sector operates: panelists

In Texas, clean energy is courting oil-bust refugees

Jeff Bishop’s LinkedIn post gets right to the point: “Houston Oil & Gas Folks — we’re hiring in Texas” for jobs in clean tech.

His company, battery developer Key Capture Energy, is making the pitch even as tens of thousands of renewable-energy jobs have dried up amid the coronavirus pandemic. That’s because Bishop and a handful of other clean-power executives see an opportunity to recruit talent from the oil and gas industries, which have been even harder hit.

While there are plenty of overlapping skills, it wasn’t always easy for clean-power companies to lure top talent from oil and gas. Wind and solar were young and niche industries that tended to attract environmentalists. Now they’re big energy, and they appeal to a wider class of workers.

Link: In Texas, clean energy is courting oil-bust refugees

Texas oil & gas industry shed record number of jobs in April

The oil and natural gas industry shed a record-breaking 26,300 jobs in Texas during April as shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic cut demand and sent commodity prices to record lows.

Drilling, completion, production and related sectors employed 192,600 people in Texas last month, a 12 percent drop from the 218,900 jobs in March, new figures from the Texas Workforce Commission show.

Link: Texas oil & gas industry shed record number of jobs in April

Texas coal generator may restart to meet projected record summer demand

Despite lower demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the grid operator for most of Texas expects record electricity usage this summer as temperatures rise — which may require a mothballed coal plant coming back into service.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on Wednesday released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for the upcoming summer season, predicting peak load of 75,200 MW. The new forecast is 1,496 MW lower than the previous, pre-coronavirus estimate, but will still top the all-time peak demand record of 74,820 MW set last summer.

Link: Texas coal generator may restart to meet projected record summer demand

Who’s in charge? Austin’s squabble with Texas leaders causes confusion over COVID-19 orders

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amid a tug of war between Texas state leaders and Austin Mayor Steve Adler over recent coronavirus orders, a legal expert said local orders stand until the governor or courts take further action.

Andres Correa, an attorney for Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann in Dallas, said Austinites should follow local orders until told otherwise. Governor Greg Abbott allowed Texas’ stay at home order to expire at the end of April, though Austin’s was extended through May 30.

Mayor Steve Adler recommended businesses maintain an activity log of customers and employees and required everyone over the age of six to wear a mask in public.

Link: Who’s in charge? Austin’s squabble with Texas leaders causes confusion over COVID-19 orders

Texas will bounce back from “Double Whammy Tsunami”

Oil prices will rebound before the year’s end. The doors of bars and restaurants will host reopening celebrations. Long-lasting changes will spring forth in industry, education and consumer behavior.

These are some of the predictions made by three leading economic scholars from Texas A&M University during an interview with John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M System…

Link: Texas will bounce back from “Double Whammy Tsunami”

Solar farm ID’d as source of soaring COVID-19 test numbers in Tom Green County

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A solar farm has been identified as the source of soaring COVID-19 test numbers in Tom Green County. The City of San Angelo said the “large employer” that had their entire workforce tested is the Rambler Solar Project.

Link: Solar farm ID’d as source of soaring COVID-19 test numbers in Tom Green County

Public Utility Commission of Texas Launches COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program

Austin, TX – In today’s open meeting, the Public Utility Commission of Texas responded to Governor Abbott’s declaration of emergency with a series of measures intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 hardships on power, water and sewer customers across the state. These measures include the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program intended to support Texans who may not be able to pay their electricity bills because of COVID-19.

Link: Public Utility Commission of Texas Acts to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

Oncor Updates

Update on Oncor’s COVID-19 Response 

  • Customer assistance resources such as deferred payment plans are available for eligible residential customers through their Retail Electric Provider (REP), and we encourage any customer with billing questions or concerns to contact their REP as quickly as possible.  
  • Oncor maintains detailed response plans to ensure we are fully prepared to operate our electric infrastructure under emergency conditions. Our Pandemic Response team has been overseeing COVID-19 preparation and monitoring efforts since January. 
  • To protect the health and safety of our customers and employees, we have taken numerous proactive measures, including implementing work-from-home procedures for employees that have the capability to perform their work remotely, work practice changes for our field employees, practicing social distancing and canceling non-essential travel.
  • All Oncor employees will remain active in their roles, regardless of work location, to ensure we continue to provide reliable electric service to our customers.

Link: Update on Oncor’s COVID-19 Response

Learn more about Oncor

CenterPoint Updates

CenterPoint Energy Responding to COVID-19

  • We are working closely with regulatory, government and emergency management organizations across our service territory to stay updated on Coronavirus (COVID-19) news and alerts.
  • We support our customers who may need payment assistance, arrangements or extensions, and have temporarily suspended natural gas service and selected electric service disconnections for nonpayment.
  • We are keeping our workforce healthy by emphasizing good hygiene and frequently cleaning and disinfecting facilities and equipment.
  • We are taking extra precautions to schedule and execute safe service visits.
  • Efforts will be taken to resolve service issues without entering the home or building.
  • Employees are equipped with additional safety equipment to protect your home and those who live in it.

Link: CenterPoint Energy Responding to COVID-19

Learn more about CenterPoint Energy

Updates by Energy Provider

Here you can find a breakdown of updates and resources relating to the effects of COVID-19 by energy provider.

Constellation Updates

Constellation Donation Helps Living Classrooms Crossroads School Secure Google Chromebooks for Every Student

BALTIMORE — Every middle school student at Living Classrooms Foundation’s Crossroads School is receiving a Google Chromebook thanks to contributions from Constellation, Medifast, and Centric Business Systems. The local Baltimore businesses combined to provide enough funding for the Harbor East charter school to purchase laptops for each of its 163 6th through 8th grade students.

“In a time when it is critical that we pivot our educational model to ensure students remain engaged in learning while schools are closed, we are very grateful for the generous donations that helped facilitate the purchase of this much needed technology so that all of our students have equitable access to important educational resources created by our wonderful faculty,” said James Piper Bond, President and CEO, Living Classrooms Foundation.

Link: Constellation Donation Helps Living Classrooms Crossroads School Secure Google Chromebooks for Every Student

Princeton is the Latest New Jersey Town to Embrace Energy Aggregation

The town of Princeton, NJ has flipped the switch on its energy provider. As of June 1, close to 90 percent of its households are now powered — at least in part — by locally sourced renewable energy.

All Princeton residents are now automatically opted into Princeton Community Renewable Energy (PCRE), an aggregation program that changes residents’ electricity provider from the utility PSE&G to Constellation NewEnergy, a third-party provider that charges lower rates.

Link: Princeton is the Latest New Jersey Town to Embrace Energy Aggregation

Constellation Steps Up to Support Customers, Communities with Critical Coronavirus Relief Efforts

Understanding that the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) marks an unprecedented time in our society, Constellation, an Exelon company, is responding by enacting measures to ease potential financial burdens for its customers and help provide relief for the communities it supports. To assist families and businesses experiencing financial stress during this public health crisis, Constellation, alongside Exelon’s utilities — Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO, and Pepco — is suspending service disconnections in areas in which it has authority and waiving new late payment charges.

Link: Constellation Steps Up to Support Customers, Communities with Critical Coronavirus Relief Efforts

Constellation, BGE and Exelon Donate $1 Million for Coronavirus Response and Relief in Maryland

BALTIMORE — Constellation, BGE and Exelon are making a commitment of $1 million to Maryland relief organizations and small businesses. The economic need for both during the current health crisis continues to increase, and these essential funds are being donated to help with their daily operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is part of more than $5 million in donations in total by Exelon Corporation and its family of companies nationwide to relief organizations in support of communities impacted by the spread of the coronavirus…

Link: Constellation, BGE and Exelon Donate $1 Million for Coronavirus Response and Relief in Maryland

Learn more about Constellation

A Message to our Customers on COVID-19 

  • Call wait times may be longer than usual, so we encourage you to take advantage of our online tools. 
  • We are offering deferred payment plans for customers who are directly impacted by the situation.
  • We will be suspending disconnects and new late fees until May 1, 2020.
  • As an essential services business, we are continuing to schedule new appointments for repairs to covered air conditioning, heating, water heater or electrical systems.

Link: A Message to our Customers on COVID-19

Direct Energy Updates

Direct Energy Named Best Electricity Company in Best of the Best Awards

HOUSTON, July 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Direct Energy® has been named the Best Electricity Company in the Houston Chronicle’s Best of the Best 2020 awards. The awards recognize businesses across 11 categories that were voted on by the community this past spring. Direct Energy was named the community’s favorite from more than 50 energy companies that were nominated.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as our customer’s favorite electricity company,” said Bruce Stewart, president, Direct Energy, North America Home. “Everything we do is focused on making the lives of our customers better, and we are proud to serve the community.”

Link: Direct Energy Named Best Electricity Company in Best of the Best Awards

Direct Energy Supports Customers, Communities and Frontliners through COVID-19

Direct Energy®, one of the largest energy and energy-related services providers in North America, has created new programs to support customers, communities and those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we have seen the virus escalate and impact North America, we are proud to support our customers, communities and employees during this time,” said Bruce Stewart, President of Direct Energy. “These are unprecedented times, and no one should have to go it alone. Now more than ever we are committed to helping those around us where we can. We’re all in this together.”

Link: Direct Energy Supports Customers, Communities and Frontliners through COVID-19

Direct Energy Donates $600K to Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program to Help Texans Pay Power Bills

HOUSTON, April 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As COVID-19 continues to spread and affect more Texans each day, Direct Energy has pledged an additional $100,000 to their Neighbor-to-Neighbor program to further support relief efforts for Texas customers, bringing our total commitment $600,000. Funds are distributed to 32 community action agencies across the state.

Link: Direct Energy Donates $600K to Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program to Help Texans Pay Power Bills

A Note from Direct Energy on Coronavirus 

  • Customers are experiencing longer than normal hold times at our call center. Please utilize our available online resources and stay safe. 
  • We have been closely monitoring reports and guidance on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Rest assured that we have taken action and our team is fully prepared to ensure that we continue to provide the energy and services you expect and deserve from us.
  • To save you time and provide you flexibility, we have recently updated our Online Account Manager, available 24/7, to help you manage your account anytime, anywhere, on any device. 

Link: A Note from Direct Energy on Coronavirus

Learn more about Direct Energy

Spark Energy Updates

Spark Energy advises Texas customers to visit COVID-19 Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program Website

The COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program temporarily keeps Retail Electric Providers in the parts of Texas open to customer choice from disconnecting electricity for customers who can’t pay their whole bill because of serious financial troubles caused by COVID-19. If you or someone in your household currently receive or are in the process of applying to receive unemployment benefits you may apply at www.txcovid19erp.org.

Link: Spark Energy advises Texas customers to visit COVID-19 Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program Website

Will Self-Quarantining Increase Your Electricity Use?

If you live in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or one of the other states that have issued orders to shelter-in-place there are a lot of things on your mind. One of the things you may be wondering is how the COVID19 pandemic will affect your energy use as you spend the bulk of your day at home.

With so many people working from home and staying inside to self-quarantine, an uptick in energy use is a valid concern. This is especially true for people who have already been financially impacted by stay at home mandates.

Link: Will Self-Quarantining Increase Your Electricity Use?

Energy Plans During the COVID-19 Pandemic

At Spark Energy we reacted quickly and put systems in place to ensure our electric and gas customers aren’t affected by the many changes we are facing as a country. Protecting our valued employees is also a top priority that necessitated changes in our operations. While things may be running a little differently on our end, rest assured it’s business as usual if you need assistance.

Our cloud-based system allows us to continue providing customer service while protecting the health of our representatives and other employees. Our representatives are able to use the Spark Energy communication system while working from home.

Link: Energy Plans During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We’re here to help!

If you are facing a hardship associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please contact our offices during normal business hours at 1-877-547-3223 to discuss options available to you including payment extensions and deferred payment plans.

Link: We’re here to help!

Learn more about Spark Energy

Tomorrow Energy Updates

Tomorrow Energy FAQs

If you have questions or are facing a hardship associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact our offices during normal business hours at 1-888-682-8082 to discuss options available to you including payment extensions and deferred payment plans.

Link: Tomorrow Energy FAQs

Learn more about Tomorrow Energy

Starion Energy Updates

Starion Energy FAQs

If you are facing a hardship associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please contact our offices during normal business hours at 1-800-600-3040 to discuss options available to you including payment extensions and deferred payment plans.

In the event of an emergency such as a downed power line or power failure, please contact your local utility company directly.

Link: Starion Energy FAQs

Verde Energy Updates

Verde Energy FAQs

If you are facing a hardship associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please contact our offices during normal business hours at 1-800-388-3862 to discuss options available to you including payment extensions and deferred payment plans.

In the event of an emergency such as a downed power line or power failure, please contact your local utility company directly.

Link: Verde Energy FAQs

Learn more about Verde Energy

Reliant Energy Updates

Reliant Launches 2020 Beat the Heat Program to Help Houstonians “Stay Cool in Your Home”

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Reliant was joined by City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia to officially launch its Beat the Heat program to help residents “Stay Cool in Your Home” and avoid the summer heat while practicing social distancing.

The 2020 edition of this annual program will provide residents across Houston with portable AC units, care packages, financial assistance and energy efficiency information for much-needed summer relief.

Link: Reliant Launches 2020 Beat the Heat Program to Help Houstonians “Stay Cool in Your Home”

COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program

The State of Texas has created the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program (ERP) to help customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 temporarily avoid disconnection. Residential customers who have recently applied for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission (or who have a household member who recently applied) are eligible to enroll.

Residential customers who receive assistance through SNAP or Medicaid should be automatically enrolled in this relief program. COVID-19 ERP eligibility and enrollment is managed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ third party administrator, Solix.

Link: COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program

Giving back to the places we call home

To support first responders and the most vulnerable in Texas, Reliant is committing over $450,000 to local community relief funds and initiatives to protect frontline workers and those adversely impacted by COVID-19. The donations are part of our community program, Reliant Gives, to provide support across the state of Texas and our parent company, NRG Energy, Inc.’s $2 million donation to pandemic relief efforts.

Link: Giving back to the places we call home

Baylor Scott & White Health Receives $100,000 from Reliant to Support Remote Monitoring of COVID-Positive Patients

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Baylor Scott & White Health announced today a $100,000 donation from Reliant in support of its MyBSWHealth mobile app. Launched in 2018, the MyBSWHealth app has emerged as a leading digital tool in Texas in the fight against COVID-19, providing nearly 175,000 digital screenings and more than 45,000 eVisits related to the virus. This process has allowed tens of thousands of Texans with mild symptoms to be evaluated outside of Baylor Scott & White clinics and emergency departments—further ensuring that hospitals are ready for those who need care most during this time.

Link: Baylor Scott & White Health Receives $100,000 from Reliant to Support Remote Monitoring of COVID-Positive Patients

Reliant Announces $300,000 to COVID-19 Relief Efforts in Houston

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– To support first responders and the most vulnerable in the Houston area, Reliant announced that $300,000 is being committed to two local community relief initiatives to protect frontline workers and those adversely impacted by COVID-19. The donations are part of Reliant’s support across the state of Texas and parent company, NRG Energy, Inc.’s $2 million donation to pandemic relief efforts.

Link: Reliant Announces $300,000 to COVID-19 Relief Efforts in Houston

Reliant Donates $25k to Support MedStar Mobile Healthcare’s COVID-19 Relief Efforts in DFW

FORT WORTH (WBAP/KLIF) – Reliant is donating $25,000 to the MedStar Mobile Healthcare Foundation to support first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The donation is a part of Reliant’s support across the state of Texas and parent company, NRG Energy, Inc.’s, $2 million donation to pandemic relief efforts.

Link: Reliant Donates $25k to Support MedStar Mobile Healthcare’s COVID-19 Relief Efforts in DFW

Learn more about Reliant Energy

Pulse Power Updates

Keeping you safe and informed

First and foremost, we at Pulse Power hope that you and your family stay safe and healthy during the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The health and well-being of our community is our top concern. Rest assured, our customer care team is still here for you and your energy needs. However, we are experiencing a higher volume of calls and we ask for your patience as we work hard to provide personalized assistance to everyone.

Remember, the fastest and easiest way to get answers is to access your online account. Make a payment or review current bills, sign up for auto-pay, update your account information and monitor your daily usage from the comfort of your home.

Pulse Power wants to ensure customers impacted by COVID-19 have the power they need during this crisis. If you have been impacted financially, there may be options to assist you in making your energy payments:

Link: Keeping you safe and informed

Learn more about Pulse Power

We are doing our best to post everything we find; we encourage you to forward additional information or updates to support@electricityrates.com.

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