H/t Black Hills Energy.
Those impacted by the state’s response to COVID-19 have one less thing to worry about right now, thanks to regional provider Black Hills Energy, who announced Friday the company would be temporarily suspending all disconnections for those customers unable to pay for their electric bills due to financial hardship. BHE also has various assistance options and programs available, according to an April 10 release.
“To date, BHE has not experienced any significant impacts on the delivery of energy to its nearly 1.3 million customers across its eight state footprint,” said BHE Community Affairs Manager Michael Howe in the release, adding that the company’s number one priority is the continued safety of its customers and employees.
Howe did not specify how long they would be waiving non-payment disconnections and fees when asked by County 17, but emphasized that BHE “has adjusted its response to focus on immediate community needs and has measures in place to ensure it continues to serve its customers in a way that is safe for everyone.”
Their new plan is designed to maintain critical electric and natural gas services for all customers, per the release, and under these new guidelines, multiple services will continue including responses to emergency calls, mandated construction work, maintaining a safe system and starting service for a customer.
To safely perform these critical needs, BHE employees are taking extra steps to protect its customers and themselves, per the release, including:
- Crews will continue to respond to all emergency calls and will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and following health practices as recommended by the CDC and other health organizations.
- Paid leave will be provided for employees who tests positive or are put under quarantine.
- Certain employees may enter into sequestration based on several criteria that may vary by location, for example, government shelter in place orders, percentage of the local population that has tested positive for COVID-19, or a reduction of the available workforce. Employee groups across Black Hills Energy who provide critical functions needed to operate a very complex electrical system and provide essential gas service are those that may be called to action.
For more information about BHS’ above-listed programs, visit blackhillsenergy.com.