By Mary Landers – Savannah Morning News
A pandemic-related moratorium on power shutoffs expires Wednesday, Georgia Power reminded its customers in a press release issued Tuesday.
For customers who accumulated a past-due balance during the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Power is offering a payment plan that allows customers who enroll in it to pay past-due balances over a six-month timeframe between October 2020 and March 2021, with no late fees.
The Georgia Public Service Commission agreed to the plan last month.
Customers with a past-due account balance can set up a payment plan or consider the additional options Georgia Power is offering customers:
‒ For customers enrolled in PrePay: Georgia Power customers who are currently enrolled in this plan and have past-due account balances can make payments for current energy usage with 25 percent of their payments going toward their outstanding balance. No late fees will be charged if outstanding balances are paid before April 2021.
‒ For customers not enrolled in PrePay: Georgia Power customers with past-due account balances may be eligible to switch to the PrePay rate plan. Customers can take advantage of its special provision for paying outstanding balances with no late fees if paid before April 2021. Customers on PrePay are not charged a deposit.
Georgia Power customers can sign up for a special payment plan at www.georgiapower.com/paymentplan, or by logging into the “My Account” section on www.georgiapower.com. They can also enroll using the company’s automated system by calling customer service at 1-888-660-5890.
While the four-month moratorium on shut-offs ends tomorrow, there’s still time to sign up for a payment plan, spokesman John Kraft said.
“It’s not a deadline; we’ll continue signing up after that,” he said. “I think the confusion came in with tomorrow being the end of the suspension, and we’ve been trying to encourage people to sign up before then, so that they’ll be covered in the process.”
Relief on summer bills
A fuel rate reduction approved by the Georgia PSC in late May is expected to reduce June through September bills of a typical residential customer using an average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours by a total of $10.26 per month. A one-time $51.5 million credit for customers, also approved by the PSC means the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours would receive an $11.29 credit on their June Georgia Power bill.
That may not be enough for some customers especially during this pandemic summer, said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch, a consumer watchdog nonprofit.
“We know that there will be people some who have arrears and some who maybe haven’t built up that arrears but who will still have trouble paying what might very well be their highest power bill of the year because this has been one of the hottest periods we’ve had,” she said. “And we do hope that the company will work with any customers.
“And that if customers sign up for payment plan that they start making payments in October, we really hope and expect that (Georgia Power) will work with any of their customers who are going to need help. Because as you know, we’re still in the midst of this pandemic-related economic crisis, and many people are still not back at work. Some are still waiting for their unemployment checks to come in the mail.”
Copyright © 2020 Savannah Morning News
Source: Savannah Morning News