Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Energy Take New Steps to Help Customers, Communities and Employees in Wake of COVID-19
Monday, March 23rd, 2020
Piedmont Natural Gas and its parent company, Duke Energy, announced a comprehensive set of steps to help customers, communities and employees manage the economic hardship caused by COVID-19.
"This is an unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented response," said Lynn Good, Duke Energy's chairman, president and CEO. "We hope the customers and communities we are privileged to serve – and the outstanding employees who serve them – will take some comfort from these actions."
More Help for Customers
Piedmont will waive late payment fees and fees for returned payments for its 1.1 million natural gas customers across its service territories beginning Saturday, March 21, until the national state of emergency is lifted. Last week, Piedmont said it would discontinue service disconnections for unpaid bills.
"Our goal is to continue providing reliable service while helping our most vulnerable customers during this extraordinary time," Good said.
The company also announced $1.3 million in donations by Piedmont and The Duke Energy Foundation to support hunger relief and help local health and human services nonprofits across its service territories, including those providing meals to children and families impacted by school closures. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, Duke Energy is giving nonprofits the flexibility to use the funds where most needed.
Relief for Employees
To aid in providing continued service to their customers through this event, Piedmont and Duke Energy will also expand assistance to employees, in order to maintain the highest level of service to customers. This is part of the company's larger donation.
The company is providing five additional personal days off to employees who experience a disruption in dependent care due to school, daycare or other child-related care – as most all schools are not in session. Duke Energy will also provide a $1,500 stipend to assist with unplanned expenses resulting from costs related to COVID-19 issue.
As part of the company's larger donation, the company is donating $100,000 to the Relief4Employees program, which is a fund that its employees can draw on for short-term financial help during times of personal need.
Continued service to customers
The company will continue to read meters in most areas and send bills. Customers should pay what they can to avoid building up large balances that will be more difficult to pay off later.
Piedmont Natural Gas delivery facilities and call centers are staffed, ensuring dependable service to customers. The company will continue to respond to natural gas outages and other emergencies.