Special payment plans among measures approved by PSC to assist with pandemic recovery; fuel rate decrease pending
As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to have unprecedented impacts on the state, Georgia Power’s suspension of disconnections is being extended following a vote by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC).
The company originally announced it would suspend disconnects in mid-March for at least 30 days to assist customers through this challenging time. Tuesday’s vote extends the decision beyond the original timeframe, assuring customers that the suspension of disconnects will remain in place as the pandemic continues to impact customers in the state.
“We recognize the extraordinary burden the COVID-19 pandemic has put upon our state and our customers,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “We commend the Commissioners for their vote to extend the disconnect suspension and allow for special customer payment provisions. It is going to take all of us continuing to think about how we can support each other to see our communities through this uncertain time.”
In addition to Tuesday’s measure, Georgia Power expects the PSC will vote next month on the company’s request to lower its Fuel Cost Recovery allowance, which would lower monthly bills by approximately $5 for the typical residential customer using 1,000 kwh per month, if approved. The lower rate would go into effect in June 2020.
As part of their action, the PSC is also joining Georgia Power in encouraging all customers to continue making payments to avoid large balance due amounts when the suspension ends. The company will also look to implement special payment plans to help customers catch up on past-due amounts once disconnections are reinstated based on the direction from the Commission.
Online Bill Payment Options
The company has eliminated fees associated with credit and debit card payments. Customers can also pay via the Georgia Power Mobile App, which is also free.
Rate Plan Options
Georgia Power is also increasing its emphasis on rate plan offerings such as FlatBill and PrePay.
- FlatBill offers a fixed monthly bill regardless of a customer’s usage during the period. That means no rising bills during summer’s heat or winter’s cold – just one flat amount.
- PrePay puts customers in control of when they pay for their electricity and allows them to pay as they go with a PrePay account. As customers use electricity, their balance is reduced.
Georgia Power Employee Safety
Georgia Power has been closely monitoring the potential threat posed by COVID-19 since January. Proactive actions have been taken that are designed to both prevent the spread of the illness and protect the safety and health of employees, including:
- Implementing telecommuting for those who can perform their duties remotely
- Cancelling facility tours and external meetings
- Increasing cleaning frequency at company locations
- Aggressively sanitizing work areas
- Cancelling all non-essential business travel – both domestic and international
- Asking employees to self-identify, if they have or plan to travel internationally
- Using technology for meetings
The company has regularly provided information and updates on the virus to employees, including prevention recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is following the latest developments and updates from public health officials and medical professionals.