Utility companies suspend disconnections for nonpayment during coronavirus closures; suspensions extended

Coronavirus

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — As city offices, schools, and non-essential establishments remain shut down, utility companies have continued to step up to the plate to ensure customers stay connected.

On April 9, Attorney General Mark R. Herring requested that the Virginia State Corporation Commission extend service suspension of disconnections through to at least June 10 when the COVID-19 state of emergency is scheduled to end. This would include electric, natural gas, water and sewer utility companies.

“I asked the SCC to extend their freeze on disconnections and suspend late fees because we are still in the middle of an emergency and it is incredibly important that all Virginians have access to electricity, gas, and water when we are asking them to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID19,” said Attorney General Herring. “No one should have to worry about having their utilities disconnected during this time of uncertainty, especially those Virginians who work hourly jobs and are more likely to be impacted by social distancing and business closures. This is good news for many Virginians and a really great decision by the SCC and I’m pleased I was able to help make it happen.”

The complete extension order can be read online.

Last month, the SCC suspended disconnections for non-payment in response to Attorney General Herring’s emergency petition requesting a freeze on disconnections. In addition, service providers have followed suit to help keep the community connected.

Cox Communications

Cox announced that as part of coronavirus response efforts, they are suspending service disconnections for non-payment for a minimum of 60 days. The company plans to open Cox WiFi hotspots to keep people connected.

This is also in an effort to support the FCC’s Keep America Connected mission to keep our states connected across all internet and telecommunications sources during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We support the FCC’s efforts to keep America connected during the crisis,” said Pat Esser, president and chief executive officer of Cox Communications. “We don’t want our customers who are impacted to worry about losing their Cox services. Our focus is on taking steps to maintain services provided to customers and the general public while ensuring the safety of our employees and customers.”

Details for internet services and billing can be found online.

Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy released that they have suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment. Customers who were disconnected previously can call 866-366-4357 to get service restored.

“Our customers should not have to worry about losing service during this critical time. Therefore, we have suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment. We know the communities we serve rely on us to provide an essential service,” Dominion wrote on its website.

Newport News Waterworks

Newport News Waterworks announced on March 18 that it will suspend service disconnections except for customer-generated requests and to make customer repairs. The suspension will be in effect until further notice.

“The communities we serve rely upon us,” Newport News Assistant City Manager and Acting Director of Newport News Waterworks Bo Clayton wrote in a news release. “Our customers do not need to worry about losing service during this challenging time.  We will continue to deliver water service around the clock and encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of the disease.”

Norfolk Department of Utilities

The Norfolk Department of Utilities released a statement to their customers and residents that they are suspending all water cutoffs that are a result of delinquency from March 16 until further notice.

More information can be found online.

Virginia Natural Gas

Virginia Natural Gas stated that they will not suspend service disconnections for non-payment related to the coronavirus.

Stay with WAVY.com for other information on other utility services. We will keep this updated as more information becomes available.


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