VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – July 07, 2021 – For a second time this year, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) is helping connect customers impacted by financial hardship due to COVID-19 to grants for bill-payment assistance to hardest hit customers.
VNG is connecting more than 7,300 residential and business customers to $1.6 million in financial assistance through Phase II of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, a special-assistance grant program to help pay past-due energy bills.
“We know the past year has been difficult and recognize that COVID-19 has affected many of our customers, potentially impacting their source of income,” said Robert Duvall, VNG president. “This second phase of grants shows our commitment to help meet the needs of our customers.”
Last December, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) received $4.4 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Virginia State Corporation Commission as part of the CARES Act to assist eligible customers facing financial burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year in March, VNG helped connect nearly 12,000 residential and business customers to $2.8 million of these grant funds during Phase I. The remaining $1.6 million was allotted for the second phase of the financial assistance program.
Once the energy company notified recipients of the first round of grants, plans were put in place to notify customers of their eligibility status and the application process for Phase II grants – all in order to connect as many individuals, families and businesses as possible to the assistance they needed.
Eligible customers will receive a one-time grant automatically applied to their account listed as a “Coronavirus Relief Fund” credit on their June or July energy bill. The grant does not need to be repaid.
“Though the country and the state of Virginia are on the mend and recovering from the adverse impacts of the pandemic, the number of requests we received in Phase II shows there’s still a need — a need to continue assisting our customers by helping distribute critical relief funds that help provide peace of mind,” added Duvall.
Since the program started in 2020, nearly 19,000 Virginia Natural Gas customers have been helped through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. VNG, along with other utility companies across the state, is working with the Virginia General Assembly to determine if there will be future phases of the program for additional funding for coronavirus relief to further assist customers.
Along with providing financial assistance to customers through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, Virginia Natural Gas also invested in the community through multiple relief efforts and community partnerships. In the past year, the energy company has donated more than $1.2 million to over 45 local nonprofits throughout Coastal Virginia, and conducted multiple food drives, collecting more than 5,000 pounds of food, enough for nearly 10,000 meals for those in need.
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the year four times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states and approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.
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