COVID-19 Update from PPL Electric Utilities
By Carol Obando-Derstine, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities
We’re facing this public health challenge together.
During the pandemic, we know our customers have questions and concerns about their electric service, how they can get bill payment assistance, electrical safety and energy efficiency information, and more.
We have our customers’ backs and are here for them.
Electric service and work on the grid
- Our investments in reliability and smart grid technology have positioned us well to weather storms of all types, including this pandemic. We continue maintaining and improving the grid to keep the power flowing for everyone during this crisis and beyond.
- Safety remains a top priority for our employees and the public.
- We remain ready to respond to all power outages, including storm-related outages.
- We’ve taken action to limit physical interactions with customers, including the suspension of non-critical repair work on service meters and metering equipment if that work requires contact with the customer or general public.
- We request the public not approach PPL crews as they go about their work. If you need to interact with them for any reason, please maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet.
- Many of our employees are working from home. Those who cannot are working safely. We’re monitoring all employees – for temperature and other risk factors – before they enter any PPL facility.
- We have suspended service terminations for non-payment and began waiving late fees on bills as of March 16, 2020.
- Visit pplelectric.com/coronavirus for all the latest information from PPL.
- We know the pandemic will have negative financial impacts on some customers and could mean more will need bill assistance during and after the pandemic. We stand ready to offer that assistance, as we always have. We won’t be shutting off power to customers for non-payment until further notice and are waiving all bill late fees.
- We continue to provide payment assistance programs and other bill services like budget billing, changing a bill due date, and more. Residential payment assistance programs can be found at pplelectric.com/coronavirus.
- Operation HELP is a fund supported by our company, employees and customers. It provides grants to help eligible customers pay their heating bills. We’re happy to say that our PPL Foundation recently donated an extra $500,000 to Operation HELP. Also, we’ve extended the eligibility guidelines for Operation HELP, so customers with income up to 250% of the poverty level can benefit from grants.
- In addition, the PPL Foundation will donate $300,000 to a dozen agencies providing COVID-19 relief efforts across central and eastern Pennsylvania, including the Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, Poconos and Susquehanna Valley regions.
- LIHEAP is a federal program that provides cash and crisis grants to eligible customers. It’s open through April 10, so there’s still time to apply.
- OnTrack offers a lower, fixed monthly bill and debt forgiveness for customers who meet income guidelines.
- We continue to provide payment assistance programs and other bill services like budget billing, changing a bill due date, and more.
- Customers in need can apply online and can also call 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL-PPL) for assistance.
The Price You Pay
- We’ve found that many customers are paying more for their electricity generation than PPL’s Price to Compare – the rate you pay for electricity generation if you choose not to shop. Our current Price to Compare is 7.632 cents per kilowatt-hour for residential customers.
- Remember, PPL’s job is to deliver your electricity. We don’t produce electricity or own power plants. The price to compare is the cost for the power we buy on behalf of customers who don’t shop. We seek bids for that power and pass on the cost without profit. The Price to Compare changes every June 1 and Dec. 1.
- If you’re not comfortable with the price you’re paying now, it’s easy to compare suppliers. You can find one that offers the service, energy supply source (renewables vs. other sources) and price that is right for you on the PA Public Utility Commission’s shopping website www.papowerswitch.com.
- Scammers don’t rest during pandemics. We’ve heard reports that bad-actor energy suppliers are lying to customers about the impact of coronavirus on future utility rates. They’re making these threats to get you to switch your energy supplier. Our advice: Don’t buy into their schemes.
- More time at home means more electricity for everything from heating and cooking to powering computers, televisions, game systems, and more.
- Some programs that require customer interaction, like appliance recycling, have been paused due to the need for social distancing during the pandemic. They will resume when it’s safe.
- You can find low-cost and no-cost ways to save electricity by visiting www.savewithppl.com and clicking on “tips to save.”
- No matter what the situation, staying safe around electricity is important. Mistakes can be deadly.
- As the weather warms, and spring projects get underway, please remember to:
- Call 811 at least three business days before you dig so underground utilities can be marked.
- Stay clear of all overhead power lines when working outside, especially when using ladders.
- Stay clear of all downed power lines and assume all still carry electricity. Call PPL at 1-800-342-5775 or your local 911 center.
- This pandemic will be potentially devastating for some small businesses. We’re working to connect our business customers with helpful resources on maintaining the safety and health of their employees and customers, as well as links to state and federal opportunities. Visit pplelectric.com/coronavirus for more. We’re updating the site regularly.