Utility companies respond to coronavirus threat

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 to limit public exposure to the coronavirus.

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation outlined its Pandemic Response Plan to help keep employees, customers and communities safe. All walk-in customer access to any of Chesapeake’s natural gas, propane or electric office locations has been temporarily suspended effective at the close of business today.

“The health, wellness and safety of our employees, customers and communities is our top priority,” said Jeff Householder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. “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.”

Delmarva Power has suspended service disconnections and is waiving new late payment fees through at least May 1 and 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.

To minimize potential financial hardships, Chesapeake is also suspending service disconnections and waiving late payment fees until at least May 1., and 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.

For customer information and updates, visit Chesapeake’s landing page at CHPKResponds.com.

To protect the public and its employees from the possible spread of COVID-19, DEC — Delaware Electric Coop — closed its lobby and cashier windows Monday, March 16. The drive-through pay window on the north side of the building will remain open from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Members can drop off new service documents in our drop-box located by the drive-through pay window 24-hours a day.

Members can pay their bills with a credit or debit card by calling 888-999-0957. Members with general questions about their bill or new service may call 855-332-9090. Members can pay their bills by mailing a check to Delaware Electric Cooperative, 14198 Sussex Highway, Greenwood, DE 19950.

“As always, DEC will work with members to set up a payment plan,” the company posted on its website, and encouraged those struggling to pay their bills to call 855-332-9090.

“Public safety is our top priority at Delaware Electric Cooperative and further actions may be needed should the virus spread further. DEC is also taking steps to limit employee travel and vendor visits to the building. All employee and public events have been cancelled through the end of April,” the company said.

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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