Utilities offering leeway and assistance

DOVER — Citing the national emergency declaration over the COVID-19 pandemic, many utility companies said they will waive late fees and close walk-in offices.

Delmarva Power has suspended service disconnections and is waiving new late payment fees through at least May 1. It will be working with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options, the company said in a letter to customers Tuesday.

Customers who may be challenged in paying their bill should contact Delmarva Power Customer Care at 800-375-7117.

Through Delmarva Power’s Gift of Energy program, company officials said, anyone can make a payment toward a friend or family member’s energy bill in Delaware or Maryland. The gift will appear on a future bill as a credit to the recipient’s account.

The Delaware Electric Cooperative is canceling late fees for members and is temporarily halting disconnections for non-payments.

Members who are struggling to pay their bills can call 855-332-9090 for help.

“As always, DEC will work with members to set up a payment plan,” the company posted on its website.

DEC closed its lobby and cashier windows March 16, although the drive-through pay window on the north side of the building will remain open from 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday. Members can drop off new service documents in the box located by the drive-through pay window 24 hours a day.

All employee and public events have been canceled through the end of April, per DEC.

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is no longer allowing walk-in customer access to any of its natural gas, propane or electric office locations and is suspending service disconnections and waiving late payment fees until at least May 1.

It has a variety of payment options and plans available for those who need assistance.

Chesapeake also supports its customers through its SHARING program, a nonprofit organization that provides funds to the company’s natural gas and propane gas customers living on the Delmarva Peninsula who need financial assistance to pay their gas and propane bills.

“The health, wellness and safety of our employees, customers and communities is our top priority,” Chesapeake President and CEO Jeff Householder said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the virus, and we recognize the uncertainty and personal impact this situation may have on our customers.

“We will continue to take additional steps as needed to help limit the spread of the virus in our communities, but we will keep our customers in mind as we make those decisions.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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