PSA: End of the moratorium on disconnection of public utility services, i.e. BG&E

ATTENTION: This is to make you aware of the end of the moratorium on disconnection of public utility services and invite a conversation to learn how BGE is working with customers who may have fallen behind on their bills.  

As you may recall, on September 1st, we shared the Public Service Commission’s ruling to end the moratorium on residential service terminations starting on October 1st and the options available to customers to help manage their bills.  It was important for me to reach out to you to share key points regarding our support for customers during the pandemic, as well as share how we will work with customers to avoid service terminations when the moratorium ends.

Since March, BGE has taken several actions to support customers during the Covid-19 pandemic including: 

·         Ceased all terminations and late fees for nonpayment, even before the Governor’s emergency declaration.  

·         Re-connected over 1,000 customers who were disconnected prior to March 13, 2020 

·         Allowed payment arrangements with no down payment and a lower payment requirement 

·         Extended payment periods for balances for a minimum of 12 months for residential customers or up to 24 months for customers receiving energy assistance from the state’s Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) 

·         Conducted proactive outreach to our customers with outstanding balances and connected many to hundreds of grants to assist with paying their bills 

·         Donated $1.5 million to the Fuel Fund of Maryland to assist limited income residential customers with their bills.  This is in addition to approximately $2 million in customer funds that are currently directed by BGE for customer assistance through the Fuel Fund. 

Throughout the pandemic, BGE has provided information on flexible payment options and how to apply for energy assistance in advance of the mortarium’s endTo support greater awareness, we’ve begun a robust advertising and public relations campaign using traditional media, social media and news outlets (Sun ArticleWYPRto further inform customers and stakeholders on ways BGE can help customers manage their bills.  

As a reminder, while the Public Service Commission has permitted Maryland utilities to issue turn-off notices on October 1, there will be a minimum 45-day window for customers to coordinate payment arrangements with our call center and/or apply for assistance. Our customer contact center is committed to assisting every customer through these troubling times 

The most important step that residential customers who are not current on their BGE bill can take is to contact BGE at 1.800.685.0123 and visit as soon as possible.  Customers should never wait until they are in crisis to contact us. The time is now. 

Additionally, BGE customers can apply for energy assistance through the Maryland Department of Human Services, by contacting their Local Energy Assistance Office, or by calling the Office of Home Energy Programs at 1-800-332-6347. BGE customers who have completed the energy assistance process with the State can also apply for further assistance with the Fuel Fund of Maryland. 

As we work to support our customers with assistance, we also want to make sure awareness is strong. We’re happy to work with your teams to get the word out and invite your office to share our information across its social networks. Below are sample messages, which links to our energy assistance page 

Message 1
If you’ve been struggling with a past-due balance, BGE can help you bring your account current with a Deferred Payment Arrangement Plan. This plan allows you to pay your balance off over time in installments with no required down payment.
Learn More About Payment Arrangements 

Message 2
We can point you in the right direction for help. Assistance is out there from programs, funds and resources that have been created especially for energy customers, such as the Fuel Fund of Maryland and the Office of Home Energy Programs.
Learn More About Assistance Programs 

Message 3
BGE does not want to disconnect any customer and only does so after a multi-step notification process. They offer a variety of ways to pay your bill online, by phone, by mail and more. They also have billing options available like Budget Billing.
Learn More About Assistance Programs