Furloughed government workers, others get a break on Columbia, Dominion, FirstEnergy bills

January 24, 2019

Furloughed government workers, others get a break on Columbia, Dominion, FirstEnergy bills

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If you have lost a job, have been laid off, are a furloughed government worker or working without pay, you won’t have to choose between paying your utility bills and buying groceries.

Columbia Gas of Ohio, Dominion Energy Ohio and FirstEnergy’s Ohio companies are willing to offer special payment options.

Columbia Gas of Ohio this week announced it would waive late payment fees and offer extended payment arrangement to government employees directly affected by the federal government shutdown.

“We know this may be a challenging time for some of our customers, especially those affected by the federal government shutdown,” said Dan Creekmur, president and COO of Columbia, in an announcement.

“We would like to offer some payment solutions and reduce some of the stress during this already difficult time.”

Dominion Energy Ohio similarly announced it is offering “flexible winter bill payment options” to customers facing economic disruptions such as plant closings as well as those affected by the federal shutdown.

“No customer should have to be cold this winter because they can’t afford to pay their heating bill,” said Jim Eck, Dominion Energy vice president and general manager, Ohio & West Virginia Distribution, in a statement accompanying the announcement.

“We encourage those who may be facing financial hardship, including those impacted by the federal government shutdown, to learn more about special payment arrangements and take advantage of our energy assistance programs.

FirstEnergy on Thursday said it too would offer special payment options and urged furloughed customers to immediately contact their local companies.

“We know the income uncertainty faced by federal workers due to the government shut down is a major added stress in their lives,” said Gary Grant, vice president of customer service at FirstEnergy, in a release accompanying the announcement.

“Our call center representatives can walk through the various payment options with furloughed federal employees, or any other FirstEnergy customer who is having trouble paying their electric bill.”

All three companies suggested customers consider budget billing, which averages out monthly payments so that they are the same every month of the year. FirstEnergy also suggested that customers who are not already in arrears should consider a “makeup agreement,” which would spread their current bill over the next several months, minimizing the current bill and eliminating late payment fees.

Here are contact numbers:

Dominion customers who have an online Dominion account can make arrangements on the account (www.dominionenergy.com) or they can call the company at 1-800-362-7557.Columbia asks that customers call 800-344-4077 to inquire about payment options.The Illuminating Co: 1-800-589-3101Ohio Edison: 1-800-633-4766Toledo Edison: 1-800-447-333

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