Editorial opinion submitted by Stephen De May, Duke Energy President in North Carolina
In the early days of the pandemic, Duke Energy took swift action to help customers knowing the financial burdens that would result for many due to the health crisis. We suspended electric service disconnections for unpaid bills. We also hit the pause button on charges for late payments and returned checks.
We made these sweeping changes so our customers, from families to factories, could focus on what matters most and continue to help their neighbors and communities weather this unprecedented chapter in everyone’s lives.
Thousands of families, businesses and others across North Carolina have directly benefited from our freeze on disconnections since it took effect more than six months ago. As we plan our return to standard billing and payment practices in October, we have expanded options for these customers and others so they can continue receiving safe and reliable service.
We encourage customers who are having a hard time paying their energy bills to get in touch with us as soon as possible, even if they’re unable to pay anything right now. We’re also proactively contacting some customers in an effort to better understand their needs.
Customers should know we have flexible and manageable payment options so they can avoid a service disruption once our standard billing practices resume in the month ahead. This ranges from giving customers a few extra days to pay their current bills to offering extended, interest-free arrangements for them to pay over many months. Disconnecting a customer’s service for non-payment is the very last step in a lengthy process, and it’s a step we will work hard to avoid.
The opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily the views of Goldsboro Daily News or Curtis Media Group-Goldsboro.