Alabama Power Company on Tuesday announced a six-week transition period to standard business operations.
Since a state of emergency was first declared in March, Alabama Power voluntarily has not disconnected or charged late fees to any customer affected by COVID-19. A written announcement on Tuesday confirmed that the company will continue to not disconnect customers until September 28, when standard business operations resume.
However, this does not mean customers adversely impacted by the pandemic who cannot pay their full bills will be disconnected at that time.
Alabama Power’s announcement also outlined the company, as a matter of priority, will offer tailored solutions to meet each customer’s unique needs and circumstances as everyone continues to navigate this unprecedented time together.
As part of its continued customer support, Alabama Power detailed that it is offering a brand-new, easy-to-use payment plan service to help customers facing economic or medical hardships due to coronavirus.
Payment plans will reportedly allow customers to spread out energy bill balances over several months. To enroll, customers can visit this website or use the automated telephone system at 1-800-245-2244.
The company stressed that it will continue “to work individually with customers on payment assistance resources” and use “multiple channels to notify customers behind on payments options to maintain service.”
Additionally, Alabama Power offers several ongoing programs designed to help low-income, elderly or disabled customers with their energy bills.
These programs include the following:
• Project SHARE: A program in partnership with the Salvation Army, Project SHARE helps pay energy bills of low-income Alabamians who are age 60 or older and/or disabled. Customers who want to request energy assistance can apply at their local Salvation Army office or by calling 205-328-2420. Alabama Power customers who want to help others can donate by checking the Project SHARE box on their Alabama Power bill.
• The Alabama Business Charitable Trust Fund: The ABC Trust works with local community action agencies to help cover the cost of heating and cooling for low-income families and those struggling with temporary financial problems. Customers who are interested can contact the community action agency in their county. For more information, visit PowerofGood.com. Click the “What We Do” tab, “Community Support” and then “ABC Trust.”
• Energy bill discounts: Discounts are available for customers receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid for Low Income Families (MLIF). The discount includes $14.50 toward the customer charge. Eligible customers can sign up at any Alabama Power business office or by phone at 1-800-245-2244.
Customers should further note that Alabama Power recently announced they will provide expedited relief to all customers. The typical customer is expected to receive a $25 credit on their September bill statement in October due to lower than expected fuel expenses. Read more on that here.
That bill credit is on top of a 3% rate reduction that Alabama Power customers are already experiencing this year. In total, the company’s customers are receiving approximately $300 million in benefits for 2020.
The company’s response to the pandemic has previously drawn praise from Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R-AL).
“Without politicizing this human tragedy by seeking attention for their actions, Alabama Power … [has] simply done what is in the best interest of their customers,” Cavanaugh said in the spring.
After approving the recently announced bill credit, she commented, “At the PSC we have tried to help every way we could from the beginning, and Alabama Power’s flexibility in dealing with affected consumers has been a model for utilities across the country.”
Resuming standard operations on September 28 also means that the company will reopen walk-in services at Alabama Power business offices and appliance centers in a manner consistent with local, state and CDC guidelines.
Watch a video announcement from the company:
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn