Special to Iredell Free News
CHARLOTTE – Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas today Thursday 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 Duke Energy employees who serve them – will take some comfort from these actions.”
More Help for Customers
The company will waive late payment fees and fees for returned payments for its millions of electric and natural gas customers across its service territories beginning Saturday, March 21, until the national state of emergency is lifted. For residential customers, the company will also waive fees for credit and debit card payments.
Last week, Duke Energy said it would discontinue service disconnections for unpaid bills. That covers 7.8 million electric customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers, many of whom are served by Piedmont Natural Gas.
“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 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 our customers through this event, 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, for Duke Energy employees, the company is donating $100,000 to the Relief4Employees program, which is a fund that 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.
Duke Energy power plants, electricity and natural gas delivery facilities and call centers, are staffed, ensuring dependable service to customers. The company will continue to respond to power outages and other emergencies.
Customers should download the company’s mobile app or visit duke-energy.com or piedmontng.com for information and most service transactions. Customers who are unable to self-serve can still contact the company:
♦ Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-777-9898
♦ Piedmont Natural Gas: 1-800-752-7504
About Duke Energy
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is headquartered in Charlotte. It employs 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit. The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts, and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.
About Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is an energy services company whose principal business is the distribution of natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company also supplies natural gas to power plants.