Puget Sound Energy has announced that it will not be disconnecting power to customers who have not paid their bills during the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Washington state.
Mary E. Kipp, PSE’s president and chief executive officer, said in a letter to customers on the utility’s website that the company is also taking safety precautions in its own facilities as well as in the field.
“Energy service is essential. As the coronavirus impacts our region, we’re working to ensure our customers’ needs continue to be met while doing our part to help mitigate this serious issue,” Kipp wrote.
Safety steps include enhanced cleaning at PSE offices and workspaces, to limiting access to essential personnel.
“We’re also having employees who can work remotely stay at home. When at your home or business, our employees will utilize steps recommended by health experts, such as social distancing, and will be providing only emergency and safety-related services,” Kipp added.
Kipp said PSE had obtained approval from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission “for a waiver that allows PSE to suspend accrual of late fees while we continue to assess the impacts of coronavirus on our customers.”
“With so much uncertainty, we also know some customers might be worried about paying their bills. We understand the hardship local businesses and residents are facing and will not be disconnecting customers at this time,” Kipp said.
PSE also has options such as payment plans, adjusting payment due dates, and assistance funds for low-income customers through a new “EnergyHelp” portal (https://www.pse.com/pages/bill-and-weatherization-assistance) on PSE’s website.
The Puget Sound Energy Foundation is also donating $250,000 to support COVID-19 relief efforts through the Seattle Foundation and is donating to food banks to cover emergency preparations, according to PSE.