Even as disconnection notifications are set to resume Monday, Dayton Power & Light says it is offering customers leeway in paying their bills.
Customers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can sign up for an extended payment plans as the utility returns to standard bill practices, and an end to a suspension of service disconnections, Sept. 1, the utility said in a release Wednesday.
DP&L is contacting customers with overdue account balances by email and postcards delivered by the U.S Postal Service. Customers may also receive an automated call outlining payment options.
Customers with overdue account balances who have not signed up for a payment plan can expect disconnection notifications to start Monday, with actual disconnections taking place beginning September 1, DP&L said in its release Wednesday.
Prior to July 27, DP&L had 44,500 account in arrears on amounts of $75 or greater, DP&L spokeswoman Mary Ann Kable said Thursday. As of now, 32% of those accounts have signed on to a payment plan agreement, she said.
Late fees will resume at the same time as disconnections notices Monday, but DP&L said it will not assess late fees on accounts that are currently on pay agreements.
DP&L said also it will continue to waive credit cards fees for customers on pay agreements that make payments electronically by the terms of the 12-month payment plan or through November 2021.
Montgomery County also has CARES Act funding available for people who are in danger of loss of housing, Kabel also noted. For more information or to apply, visit: https://mcobiz.com/cares-grants/cares-grant-application-housing/
To sign up for the extended payment plan, DP&L customers can use self-service options either by phone through the utility’s automated system by calling (800) 433-8500 or online at dpandl.com/onelessworry.
Residential customers can select from 6, 9 and a new 12-month extended pay agreement, while business customers can extend payments up to 6 months.
Customers who are unable to self-serve can call a service specialist who will help them with their plan. DP&L representatives are available at (800) 433-8500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston said utilities should not disconnect customers for the time being.
“DP&L and Vectren’s temporary suspensions of disconnections helped,” Weston said in a statement. “But their intention to resume disconnections is too soon for families already hurting from the health and financial crisis."
In Ohio, food insecurity has nearly doubled, June rent went unpaid by half a million residents, poverty levels were already high – with minorities disproportionately represented in poverty, and coronavirus cases “surging” in some places, Weston also said.
“Adding loss of essential utility services to people’s troubles should be avoided at this time,” he added.