Assistance with energy bills offered
Virginia Natural Gas is helping customers who are facing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19 by connecting them to energy assistance funds, offering more flexible payment plans and providing energy saving measures to help keep bills manageable as the pandemic continues to impact Virginians.
“While we have been working to keep our communities and employees safe to ensure reliable natural gas service, we understand these are trying times for many of our customers,” said Jim Kibler, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “Customers can take comfort knowing we are here to help and provide options to those who may be struggling to pay their bills, many for the first time.”
In recognition of the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus for customers impacted by employment changes or business slowdown, Virginia Natural Gas suspended service disconnections for non-payment March 14 for both residential and commercial customers. The Virginia State Corporation Commission recently extended the moratorium through Aug. 31 to give the General Assembly time to address the economic impact of the crisis on utility customers.
“We applaud the Commission’s balanced approach and the legislators’ offer of leadership to ensure the heating assistance funds under the CARES Act can be allocated in a way that best meets the urgent needs of Virginia families affected by the economic situation,” added Kibler.
As the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus continue to evolve, VNG is committed to working with customers who may be struggling financially. The company is providing the following measures to assist customers with their bills:
- Energy Assistance — EnergyShare provides a one-time annual grant to qualified residential customers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Virginia Natural Gas has provided additional funds and worked with the Salvation Army to modify the eligibility criteria of its EnergyShare program in order to assist more customers who may be experiencing economic hardship during this time.
- Payment Arrangement Plans are available for customers to help manage their natural gas bills by spreading out costs over time. VNG is now offering extended payment arrangement options of up to 12 months for customers impacted by the pandemic and will eliminate the required down payment.
- The Virginia Natural Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to plan for and pay their monthly natural gas bill. Customers pay a more consistent amount by estimating natural gas usage and natural gas prices for the next year and adjusting quarterly to allow a credit balance to build up and help offset bills that may be higher during the winter heating season.
- VNG’s Energy Efficiency Program helps customers save energy, thereby saving money. A free online energy audit provides a customized report on ways to save energy at home since many customers are spending more time at home and experiencing increased energy usage due to the pandemic. Customers can also request a free energy-savings kit filled with items to help them weatherize their home to start saving money. For information on the audit, kit and energy-saving tips, visit virginianaturalgas.com/energyefficiency.
For more information on any of these programs, visit www.virginianaturalgas.com.