During this heightened time of concern due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want our customers to know that their safety and well-being is of utmost importance to us. We understand that this situation has changed how our customers function and operate in their daily lives. With many of you teleworking and e-learning from home, we know reliable energy is necessary to fulfill these needs. Columbia Gas of Ohio and its dedicated workforce will continue our mission to provide the constant source of natural gas service that customers are depending on.
To do that, we have instituted our pandemic response plan, which involves short and long-term planning to address the unprecedented challenges we face today and in the future. Our work in the community and in our call centers continues uninterrupted, and we are fully staffed with contingency plans in place to continue working 24/7 to provide energy to our customers.
In addition, we’ve taken a series of proactive and preventive steps to safeguard Columbia Gas employees, including temperature checks for employees who must report to work, restricting all non-essential business travel, implementing telework for all employees with the ability to work from home, minimizing in-person meetings by using technology, and stepping up cleaning and disinfection of work areas. Increased social distancing measures and steps to minimize close in-person interactions are also central to our plans to ensure our workforce remains safe and healthy.
In some cases, certain types of work have been temporarily suspended in order to support our ability to respond to emergencies that might arise.
We’ve also taken several actions to assist customers who may be financially impacted by recent events. We’ve voluntarily suspended disconnects for customers unable to pay their Columbia Gas bills. This suspension applies to both residential and commercial customers and will remain in effect until further notice. In addition, we’re offering our most flexible payment plans to customers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Finally, we remain in close contact with local and state officials and emergency responders, as well as our peers within the energy industry, to maintain an open line of communication to appropriately respond or adjust plans as the pandemic continues to evolve.
While providing reliable gas service is an essential service, we know that the work being done by our local medical professionals, and emergency and first responders, is even more important than ever. We thank them for their commitment and recognize the sacrifices they’re making to take care of those in need.
In this time of uncertainty, we hope these measures provide a level of comfort. For tips on ways to stay safe at home or to save energy, we invite you to visit ColumbiaGasOhio.com. I’d also like to remind you to please call 811 first if you are planning any type of digging in your yard. It will help ensure your safety, and the safety of your neighbors and our employees and prevent gas outages which require our employees to enter homes to restore service. If we can be of further assistance to you, please contact our customer care center at 1-800-344-4077.
Please stay safe, stay healthy, and continue to look out for one another.
Dan Creekmur is president of Columbia Gas of Ohio.