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Company COVID-19 Response from Washington Gas President Blue Jenkins

Washington Gas – Customer Updates & Reminders During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

May 29, 2020

Dear Customer:

As the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be felt across the country and our community, Washington Gas is here to provide essential support and quality service during this unprecedented period. We thank you for your patience as we continue to work together through the challenges and stress we all face every day.

Our commitment to doing what it takes to keep the natural gas flowing for your daily needs remains firm at all times. We are dedicated to providing you service reliably with safety as our highest priority. 

As an essential service provider, we are still out in neighborhoods, whether responding to emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or performing critical maintenance and repairs.  While on the job, our crews and contractors follow precautionary protocols such as wearing masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and practicing safe social distancing of at least 6 feet when performing work on location. We ask that you give our crews the space they need to work by maintaining safe social distancing as well. Beginning June 1, we will no longer limit our service orders to emergencies and service turn-on requests; we will resume responding to all service request orders. 

Our practice of waiving late payment fees, suspending disconnections and offering payment arrangements continues to be in effect until we get past this crisis. In the event you require payment assistance, here are highlights about available options.

Payment Assistance Update: WAFF Extended; Additional LIHEAP Funds Available 

We continue to offer financial assistance through our Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF), a program created with The Salvation Army to help families in need pay their heating bills. As of May 15, we are pleased to extend the WAFF application deadline from May 31 to July 31, 2020. Anyone seeking service or WAFF Help can fill out the WAFF application at. Click here for a list of local Salvation Army offices, visit

 

 

In addition, The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an annual federal initiative that provides utility bill assistance to low-income households. LIHEAP just received $900 million in additional funding from the CARES Act. In our region, there is $45 million available to households that qualify. Apply now as funds are available on a first come, first serve basis. Learn more by visiting our Energy Assistance.

Continued Support for COVID-19 Relief Efforts

As shared previously, our parent company, AltaGas, distributed $1 million across its enterprise to support essential community needs.  We are proud to have donated our second round of funds to cover costs for food and COVID-related emergency service provided by local non-profit organizations, including: Martha’s Table, The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier, Food & Friends, Manna Food, Food Pantry serving Springfield, Virginia, as well as the Amazing Grace Food Pantry serving Capon Bridge, West Virginia. To date, we have provided a total of $165,000 in funding as part of our ongoing COVID-related donation support.

Washington Gas will continue to connect, inform and update our customers regularly with timely information as we navigate the future of the pandemic.  Please visit our Coronavirus Alert webpage at washingtongas.com for additional resources, FAQs and notifications. 

The DC-region has been our home for more than 172 years and time has proven that tough challenges ultimately make us stronger as a community. We will be there for each other and emerge as vibrant as ever.

It is an honor to serve you every day as our highly valued customers. Be safe.

Sincerely,

Blue Jenkins, President

Washington Gas  

Please see below for additional information, reminders and resources available to better serve you.

Still Waiving Late Fees and Suspending Disconnections

Washington Gas continues to suspend disconnections and waive late fees on customer bills until we get past this crisis. Note that these actions are automatically in place and do not need to be requested. 

Call Center and Online Options – Help Us Serve You

Customer service remains a priority, however you may experience longer than normal hold times. We thank you for your patience.

If your inquiry is about bill payment or accessing account information, a reminder that most of that activity can be managed online. You can easily pay your bill and access the latest information on your account and view the latest updates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage all customers to sign up for our free, eBill service to start receiving and paying your bill directly from your email.

 

For your convenience, at the bottom of this message we list more information about a variety of available payment options.  

New Service Connections

For customers who have moved into homes or are installing gas service, we are proceeding with new service connections. Some delays in processing these requests may be experienced due to workforce availability and prioritizing assignments. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Work in Your Neighborhood – Added Reminders 

While crews and contractors follow precautionary protocols when performing work on location, as a reminder, most of the infrastructure work we perform in your neighborhood does not require entry into the home and our work should not result in an interruption of service. When inside work is required, to protect our technicians, we ask that you let us know if anyone in your home is ill before we arrive. When performing work on location, our crews and contractors follow precautionary protocols such as wearing masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and practicing safe social distancing of at least 6 feet. We ask that you give our crews the space they need to work by maintaining safe social distancing as well.

How to Avoid Scams 

We advise customers to be on alert for scams targeting utility customers. Scams during the pandemic are on the rise as people are feeling vulnerable about their financial circumstances. A typical scam is a message that demands a customer pay their gas bill immediately or their natural gas service will be disconnected. Such calls are not from Washington Gas. Also, Washington Gas does not communicate with customers via text message, so please disregard texts about your gas bill and do not provide information in response. Finally, Washington Gas does not market its gas service through phone calls or texts. Communications pretending to be from Washington Gas actually come from scammers or unscrupulous gas suppliers. Please ignore them.

Learn how to avoid scams.

Emergency Calls – Available 24 hours-a-day/7-days a week

As always, if you think you smell gas or are experiencing a natural gas-related emergency at any time, please call 911 and then call us at 1-844-WASHGAS (927-4427). We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to emergency calls.

Payment Assistance Available for Customers in Need

As the pandemic is greatly increasing the need for assistance, there are many resources in place to help. Visit our web page to learn more.  

 

Note: Eligibility for most programs are based on household size and total household income, and other factors may apply depending on the program.

  • DC: If you or someone you know resides in the District of Columbia is having difficulty paying a natural gas bill, please contact the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) at 311 or online to determine eligibility.

 

  • Prince George’s County: If you reside in Prince George’s County and require assistance paying your natural gas bill, please call the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services at 301-909-7000.

 

DC, Maryland or Virginia:

  • LIHEAP, or Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is a federal government program that provides energy funding assistance to low-income households across the U.S.  Washington Gas is currently working with LIHEAP to determine what funds are potentially available to its customers impacted by the Coronavirus. The program is run on a first come, first served basis. Learn more.

 

  • WAFF, or Washington Area Fuel Fund, was created by Washington Gas and The Salvation Army to help families in need pay their heating bills. Utility assistance is available regardless of the type of fuel used to heat a home. That means residents do not have to be customers to receive assistance and, in general, a family of four earning up to $75,050 could be eligible. Anyone seeking to receive funds from WAFF can fill out the application at through May 31 (as noted, recently extended to July 31, 2020).

 

Additional Information & Reminders: Payment Plans, Options to Pay Your Bill

 

  • Customers can visit www.washingtongas.com and select “pay bill” to view and pay a bill or request payment arrangements. Customers can also visit our e-service portal directly at https://eservice.washgas.com.
  • Budget plans are available for customers to spread the cost of their energy bill, apply discounts, use deferred payment options, or receive funds to supplement government energy assistance, among other options. Learn more about payment assistance plans. 

Payment options 24 x 7 that are free, fast, easy and secure

A list is available online:

  • Automated Payment Plan − the easiest way to pay your bill. Get more information or sign up today at washingtongas.com.
  • Online − pay your bill online anytime, day or night, at https://eservice.washgas.com. Enroll to receive electronic bill notifications which include our 1-click payment option.
  • 7-Eleven − you can also make quick and easy cash payments at retail payment locations (i.e., 7-Eleven, CVS, ACE, Family Dollar) by using the bar code located on the back of your Washington Gas bill. If you don’t have your bill handy, you can obtain an EZ-Payslip by visiting us online at washingtongas.com/paybycash.
  • Phone − pay your gas bill over the phone by check, credit or debit card by calling 703-750-7944.
  • Mail − send your check (made payable to Washington Gas) with your remittance stub to Washington Gas, PO Box 37747, Philadelphia, PA 19101-5047.

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