ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — As workers face limited hours and layoffs while businesses take coronavirus safety measures, companies are allowing them to put utility bills on the back burner for now.
Atlanta Gas Light issued a press release indicating it is suspending service disconnections until April 13 to assist those who cannot pay their bills or who are affected by COVID-19.
"We stand with the Georgia Public Service Commission in our commitment to ensuring that every family and company in our community has the fuel they need to continue heating their homes, cooking their food, taking warm showers and running their businesses." said Bryan Batson, president of Atlanta Gas Light.
The company also provided a list of other resources:
- United Way - Call United Way for a referral to assistance programs by dialing 211 from anywhere within the state.
- LIHEAP - The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded energy assistance program that helps low- and fixed-income families meet their energy needs during the heating season. Eligibility is based on several factors, including fuel type, geographic region, household size and income. Call 404-657-3426 or 877-423-4746.
- Credit Counseling - If you or someone you know is having trouble paying bills, reach out to ClearPoint, a national, nonprofit credit counseling agency at 800-251-2227 (866-559-8198 for Spanish) or visit ClearPoint's website at clearpoint.org.
- Senior Citizens Discount Program - Customers 65 years of age or older who have a total annual combined household income of $25,520 or less are eligible for up to a $14 monthly discount on their base charge. Natural gas service must be in the customer's name to be eligible. Get the online application through our website at atlantagaslight.com.
On March 11, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order preventing the disconnection of water service for customers for 60 days.
Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton announced on March 16, "The city will suspend water disconnections and will not apply late fees for unpaid balances for the next 60 days to help ease the financial strain of these difficult times."
Georgia Power announced it would suspend residential connections for 30 days beginning March 14, 2020. It also recommended these programs for those in need:
- Georgia Power's Senior Citizen Discount – Georgia Power customers 65 years of age or older who meet the income requirements for eligibility can receive up to $24 a month off their bill.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Georgia Power supports the Division of Family & Children Services to help qualifying, low-income households pay their home energy bills.
- The Salvation Army's Project SHARE - Established in partnership with The Salvation Army, Georgia Power customers can provide assistance to residents in the same community for expenses, such as utility bills, housing, food and medical necessities.
AT&T also announced on its website several measures to assist customers, indicating ,"We won't terminate service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer due to an inability to pay their bill as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – and we're waiving late payment fees for those customers."
Customers are still urged to contact the respective companies for any financial assistance or other programs that may be available.
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