MANSFIELD — When the COVID-19 pandemic appeared, Columbia Gas paused some non-emergency work that requires us to go into customers’ homes or businesses.
We did this to protect the safety of customers, communities and our employees, with the approval of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Other work continued, with social distancing, face coverings and other safety precautions. Now, we are ready to restart work that was paused.
Like the Governor’s Responsible RestartOhio plan, our restart is taking place in phases and includes precautions to keep customers, communities and employees safe. Our employees and contractor partners follow safety practices required by the Ohio Department of Health and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
• Assessing their health daily
• Maintaining at least six feet of distance during their work
• Wearing a face cover – and we respectfully ask that others wear one also, if they are able
• Using additional protective gear when needed
• Cleaning work surfaces
Much of the work we are restarting is done to protect the safety of our customers. This includes inspecting gas meters located inside homes, and replacing aging gas lines. Other work includes customer requests, such as establishing new service. We will carefully monitor the situation to be sure it continues to be safe to do this work.
We know that people are struggling right now. Here's how we can help:
• We have resumed contacting customers who have past-due balances.
• We know the economic slowdown has affected many families. Our focus throughout the pandemic has been to help families who are struggling.
• We’re offering our most flexible payment plans to those who have been affected by COVID-19. Also, we’re advising customers of assistance programs that they might qualify for.
• We have reviewed this plan with the PUCO and they have approved.
• We are moving forward gradually, being transparent, and giving customers every opportunity and resource to catch up on their bills.
June: We will advise customers of assistance programs and payment plans. No shutoffs for non-payment will occur.
July: We will ask for payment from customers who have a past-due balance. No shutoffs for non-payment will occur until at least at least July 29 (first day of the August billing cycle).
August: We will ask for payment from customers who have a past-due balance. Shutoffs may occur at this time – but they are a last resort. We want to help customers to take advantage of payment plans and assistance programs that can help them.
• We always encourage customers to contact us as soon as suspect they may have trouble paying their bill. Our number is 1-800-344-4077.
• We’re making it easier for customers to enroll in payment plans. Customers who pay their bill online will now be able to enroll online. Also, in July, customers will be able to opt into a payment plan directly from their paper bill.