Georgia Power’s Suspension of Disconnects to Continue During COVID-19 Pandemic

Originally published on southerncompany.com.

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. Today’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 today’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
With Governor Kemp’s recent shelter in place order, the company reminds customers of online bill payment options. Customers can pay their bill online on GeorgiaPower.com with a credit or debit card or with a checking or savings account. The company has eliminated fees associated with credit and debit card payments. Customers can also pay via the Georgia Power Mobile App, which can be downloaded for free from both the App Store (Apple) and Google Play Store (Android).

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. This flexibility allows customers to better manage their budget and energy usage with no deposit requirement, no credit check and no reconnect fees. Smart Usage, Nights & Weekends and other options also help customers find a plan that fits their budget and lifestyle. Learn more at www.GeorgiaPower.com/RatePlans.

Tips, Tools & Resources
Georgia Power encourages its customers to use online tools to help manage their energy such as the My Power Usage program, a free service connected to many Georgia Power online accounts that allows customers to track their daily energy use, project their monthly bill, and set daily or monthly usage alerts.

Customers can take advantage of the company’s free Online Energy Checkup. The 15-minute quick and easy service provides a customized report to help customers understand their energy use and find ways to save money where you can use your actual power bills to give you a customized report. You will enter information about your home and family to measure how you use energy. Whether customers own a home or rent, tailored tips are available at www.GeorgiaPower.com/Save, which also includes access to a variety of rebates and incentives for both homes and businesses. Energy efficiency measures for customers include continued development and implementation of new plans and programs approved in the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan.

Georgia Power Employee Safety
Georgia Power wants to assure customers that it has comprehensive plans and procedures to help ensure a continuation of operations and service as the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread. The company’s detailed plans are designed to ensure readiness of the critical personnel and facilities necessary to continue providing the safe and reliable energy our customers expect and deserve.

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.