Op-Ed: Help Still Available for Utility Costs
The following op-ed is written by Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy utility operations in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
In the early days of the pandemic, Duke Energy temporarily suspended electric and natural gas service disconnections for unpaid bills. We also hit the pause button on charges for late payments and returned checks, as well as the fees our residential customers must pay third-party vendors for credit and debit card payments.
We made these sweeping changes so our customers, from families to factories, could focus on what matters most and continue to help their neighbors and communities weather this unprecedented chapter in everyone’s lives.
Thousands of families, businesses and other across Northern Kentucky have directly benefited from our freeze on disconnections since it took effect more than four months ago. And we have expanded options for these customers and others so they can continue receiving safe and reliable service as we make plans to return to standard operations and billing practices over the months ahead.
We encourage customers who are having a hard time paying their energy bills to get in touch with us as soon as possible. They should know we’re here to help, even if they’re unable to pay anything right now. We’re also proactively contacting some customers in an effort to better understand their needs.
Customers should also know we have flexible and manageable options so they can avoid a service disruption once our standard billing practices resume over the months ahead. These range from giving customers a few extra days to pay their current bills to offering affordable arrangements for them to pay over many months. Some customers may also qualify for assistance from various government and nonprofit programs for utility bills and other household expenses.
Customers can learn more about available payment arrangements and assistance programs by visiting dukeenergyupdates.com or calling 800.544.6900. In the end, we’re committed to doing what we can to help all customers avoid future service disconnections – while still providing a critical service during this ongoing crisis.
Amy Spiller is president of Duke Energy’s utility operations in Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.