Winter is fast approaching, and Virginians are still weathering the impacts of a pandemic and economic crisis. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, a backlog of unemployment claims threatens our ability to pay rent and utilty bills. The good news is that lawmakers just passed a budget that seeks to protect Virginians from electricity disconnections due to overdue bills — and we want to ensure that utilities like Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power follow the law.
If you are facing electricity disconnection or know friends, family, or neighbors at risk of losing electricity, below is a list of important steps to follow:
- For a complete list of resources available to you, please call 211 and press 9 to speak with a community resource specialist. More information about Virginia’s 211 service found here: 211virginia.org
- You may qualify for help through the Virginia COVID-19 Energy Assistance program through Virginia’s Department of Social Services. Applications are currently being accepted through November 20, 2020 or until funds are exhausted and could provide eligible households a one-time payment of $300 to assist with payment of a heating or cooling expense.
- Contact your energy provider and let them know your situation. The General Assembly passed a budget in November, which, once signed by Governor Northam, will prohibit most utilities from disconnecting customers for nonpayment so long as a State of Emergency remains in effect due to COVID-19.
- Notify your House Delegate and State Senator ASAP regarding your electricity disconnection. Click here to send them a message.
- You may also wish to alert the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to your situation using their online complaint form. The SCC is a state agency with regulatory authority over public utilities.
Clean Virginia is committed to holding electric utilities accountable during this uncertain time and ensuring that these companies adhere to the protections that lawmakers put in place for Virginia families. Please share these resources with anyone you know who might be worried about paying their utility bills and losing electricity in their homes. Anyone can view these resources by texting “ENERGY” to 670-76.