Continuing our series on everyday work in extraordinary times, we wanted to really home in on more examples of utility companies that are working hard to ensure that consumer bills remain affordable in these seemingly dire times.
As it stands, the power demands on our grid are changing from traditional patterns and usage. More of us are working from home rather than our office or workspace. We are shifting energy usage that is typically absorbed by our companies to our homes, which means we’ll see higher utility bills. As a matter of fact, reports from the UK say consumers will likely spend an additional 52 million pounds ($64 million) each week.
Thankfully, around the U.S., utility companies are working hard and taking significant steps to make sure that those prices will remain low, and are staying sensitive to the needs of their customers who have been hit by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most companies have suspended service shutoffs, and even more are working with individual customers to ensure payment plans are in place and work for everyone involved. Here are some more great efforts these businesses are working on:
- As we know Florida Power & Light is already working with the state regulator to lower rates by almost 25 percent. As FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy puts it, “Everyone at FPL understands how critical it is to continue to provide reliable electricity and to keep as much money as possible in our customers’ pockets.” Florida’s regulators normally prefer price changes to be spread out over the year, but FPL asked for permission to deliver the savings all at once. Florida residents already benefit from some of the lowest rates in the country, but the extra help from FPL is doubtlessly appreciated.
- Rocky Mountain Power committed to forgoing shutoffs for non-payment. RMP is working with customers who have been hit economically on an individual basis by waiving late fees or providing payment plans. They stress that time is of the essence and to let them know if you need assistance as soon as possible, since they have several ways to help.
- Dominion Energy is concerned that scammers may be scaring energy consumers into thinking that their electricity will be shut off without immediate payment. This is simply untrue, and Dominion wants you to know that you should contact them first if you have concerns. In addition, Dominion ensures that load shift won’t be a problem despite more Americans working from home.
- Alliant Energy has deeply involved themselves in their community, not just by donating to local nonprofit organizations and working with food pantries, but also through working with Iowa State University to build and distribute face shields to local hospitals.
Thank you to our utility workers across the country for your dedication to keeping our lights on, providing power at hospitals and grocery stores, and most importantly, putting yourselves in harm’s way to keep our spirits powered through these trying times. We support you, and the joint effort of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to ensure you’re deemed essential workers.
To find out what your local utility company is doing, click here.