Dominion Energy program helps pay bills
Many people — particularly older adults — have struggled financially during the pandemic. For that reason, Dominion Energy suspended all disconnections for nonpayment beginning in March 2020. It’s also providing assistance to those in need.
The pandemic wasn’t the first time the company offered assistance to Virginia residents. Almost 40 years ago, Dominion Energy created EnergyShare — a program developed to assist those in need with payment of energy bills, providing funding to cover the gaps of what they’re not able to pay. EnergyShare began as a winter program and eventually expanded to offer assistance year-round.
EnergyShare is a crisis program that helps pay energy bills for healing and cooling. Additional assistance may be available for veterans, those with disabilities and those 60 and over.
“Seniors are often the most vulnerable,” said LeRoy Atkins, administrator of Energy Assistance Outreach. “A lot of times they will pay utility bills before medicine.
“We want to help customers become more self-sufficient so they can move forward in life.”
In a testimonial, one recipient of bill-payment assistance said: “I was overwhelmed with bills from my treatments and hospital stays. The [enrollment] process was really easy, and the turnaround time was wonderful. I am extremely blessed to be where I am, and I think that EnergyShare is doing everything it can to help.”
In recent years, Dominion Energy has enhanced the EnergyShare program to provide more assistance. Residents who receive assistance with bill payment are also eligible for a free home-energy assessment and installation of free energy-efficiency upgrades and weatherization to save on energy bills.
From June 2019 to May 2020, more than 16,200 customers received bill payment assistance, and 5,000 homes received weatherization.
Free air conditioner
In another program, Senior Cool Care, older Virginians in the Dominion Energy service area may be eligible for a free single-room air conditioner, which can be lifesaving during summer.
Senior Cool Care is sponsored by Dominion Energy and administered by the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
To fund the EnergyShare program, Dominion Energy receives donations from consumers, employees and business partners. According to Atkins, all funding from donations goes toward helping its customers.
“We all have to think of alternative ways to do business,” Atkins said. “Human life is more important than financial gain.”