ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Starting Monday, Oct. 5, the state moratorium on utility disconnections ends. Unless it is extended, people who are significantly behind on their utility bills could have service cut off.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are options out there to keep the heat and lights on.
Teresa Hamilton Hall with Appalachian Power says if you are endanger of being disconnected, you should contact your power company. It will work with you to establish a budget plan to help you pay off your delinquent bill over time until you are current.
Tina Chisom with Roanoke Gas says that is also the case with the gas company. She urges people behind in their payments to reach out before they are disconnected. It has a program known as Heatshare that is administered through the Salvation Army.
Both Appalachian Power and the Roanoke Gas Company stress they do not want to disconnect customers. Both companies refer clients in need of more help to contact 2-1-1 Virginia. It is a service of the Virginia Department of Social Services in partnership with the Council of Community Services.
“Starting in March, those calls — depending on the day — have been up 20%, 50%, 100%,” said Anne Marie Green, president of the Council of Community Services.
The Department of Social Services has additional resources through the CARES act to help households affected by COVID-19 meet their immediate home energy needs.
The program can help Virginia residents pay up to $300 for heating or cooling needs.
The money is available on a first come first serve basis. There are monthly income limits.
Clients can apply online at https://vaservices.dss.virginia.gov/CARES/.
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