Utility companies suspend disconnections for overdue bills amid coronavirus outbreak

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(NEXSTAR) – With many fearing for their jobs and confined to their homes as coronavirus infections mount, utility companies across the country have promised to keep service running – even to those unable to pay.

In Virginia, Cox announced Friday that they won’t terminate service to any residential or small business customer who cannot pay their bills because of the virus. In addition, they will waive late fees that are a result of the coronavirus’ effect on the economy.

Cox also plans to open Cox WiFi hotspots to keep people connected.

Dominion Energy said Friday that it had suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment earlier this week.

“Our customers should not have to worry about losing service during this critical time. Therefore, we have suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment. We know the communities we serve rely on us to provide an essential service,” Dominion wrote on its website.

Georgia Power made a similar announcement Friday, pledging to not cut off power on outstanding bills for the next 30 days “during this unprecedented time.”

The company said in a statement that it remains “focused on ensuring both the well-being of our employees and the continuity of services for our customers.”

San Diego Gas & Electric said in a statement Friday that with the amount of disruptions due to coronavirus, “the last thing we want our customers to worry about is whether they can afford to keep their lights on.”

In Oregon, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency and announced that Portland Water and the Bureau of Environmental Services “will not disconnect water service for non-payment of sewer, storm water, and water bills during the city’s State of Emergency.”

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