Coronavirus and Your Utility Bills
The Coronavirus (or Covid-19) outbreak news over this weekend has left many working Pennsylvania families wondering what’s going to happen in the wake of schools and many businesses closing. Folks want to know how they’ll make ends meet if they take sick leave or must stay home to look after children who aren’t in school. They’re also concerned about how they’ll be able to afford their PA electricity bill at the end of the month.
Because we here at PA Energy Ratings monitor the news about Pennsylvania energy prices and regulations, we’re going to stay on top this story to help our customers stay informed and ready.
Covid-19 Energy Service Disconnections
On March 13, 2020, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued an emergency order prohibiting electric and natural gas utilities from disconnecting service if a customer can not pay their monthly bill because of financial hardship. This moratorium will remain in place as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6 related to the Coronavirus, is in effect.
The order was later clarified to include the suspension of all door-to-door, in-person and public marketing by competitive electric and natural gas suppliers in the state while the disaster proclamation is in effect.
Coronavirus Utility Disconnections
All PA utilities have made their own announcements about suspending service disconnections:
- Duquesne Light Company (DLC) announced on March 13 that it would discontinue energy shutoffs until May 1. DLC points customers facing payment problems to the variety of payment assistance programs available. In particular, their Customer Assistance Program (CAP).
- First Energy Utilities in Pennsylvania (Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power, and West Penn Power) also announced on March 13 that they are discontinuing power shutoffs for past-due customer electric bills. Customers who face hardship paying their bill should contact their local First Energy Utility customer service to set up a payment plan.
- PECO (an Exelon company) in Philadelphia stated that they suspending service disconnections and suspending new late payment charges for all customers through May 1. Customers facing challenges with their bills should contact customer service and review PECO’s payment arrangement
- PPL announced on March 16 that it would also stop service cutoffs for nonpayment during the pandemic. While it also announced it would waive new late fees, this only applies to its gas and electricity customers in Kentucky. Those customers in PA having financial troubles should check out PPL’s payment assistance program and contact customer service.
- UGI has stated that it has suspended disconnecting of natural gas or electric service due to non-payment through to the end of March. Gas and electricity customers needing payment assistance should get in touch with UGI customer assistance programs.
Because this situation can change daily and these shut-off deadlines could shift, customers should contact their electricity supplier to find out more detail about their policy for late payments will be during the Coronavirus crisis.
We will post updates about late fee and disconnection moratoriums for Pennsylvania customers as we learn more.
- Constellation Energy (an Exelon Company) has announced in an email they are suspending disconnects and new late fees for natural gas and electricity service customers in PA until May 1, 2020. They are also offering deferred payment plans for customers that are being directly impacted. Customers needing assistance contact customer assistance.
Coronavirus Stay Safe in Pennsylvania
We want all our customers to stay healthy and safe during this outbreak. To learn more about what you and your family can do, check out the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. To learn more about the situation in Pennsylvania visit the state Department of Health Coronavirus website.