Washington Gas announced today a new payment option for customers experiencing high bills from the recent extreme cold temperatures. Active residential customers with gas bills currently up to $500 past due may request to have these amounts billed over a 6-month period. Customers may be placed on a budget plan, based on previous yearly gas consumption. This new budget amount with the deferred bill should result in a lower monthly bill recognized.

"Washington Gas continues to work with our customers by providing payment arrangements and extensions for those impacted by the extremely cold weather conditions," said Eric Grant, Washington Gas Vice President, Corporate Relations. "Our Customer Service department will escalate any cases where they are unable to negotiate an arrangement within the existing guidelines. We continue to remind customers that if they are having financial difficulties, they should contact us early to set up pay arrangements to avoid service disconnection or any collection issues."

Customers who may have difficulty paying their gas bills have a number of additional options available to them,
  • The Washington Gas Budget Plan: This plan allows eligible customers to spread the cost of winter heating over the entire year. It helps to minimize the impact of typically higher seasonal bills and provides greater flexibility in managing a household budget. If customers are having difficulty paying winter heating bills, they should call Washington Gas at 703-750-1000 as soon as possible to discuss any concerns or billing issues.
  • Request to Pay Your Bill In Installments: Special payment arrangements may be available and customers can inquire about paying their bill in monthly installments by contacting the Washington Gas Automated Services line at 703-750-7944. This request also may be made through the company's online Customer Service Center at washingtongas.com.
  • Request A Payment Extension: Washington Gas' Payment Extension Program can extend the payment due date for some customers, primarily those whose main source of income is a monthly government or pension check. To request a 20-day extension, customers should contact Washington Gas at 703-750-1000.
  • The Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF): Founded in 1983 by Washington Gas, WAFF is a financial assistance program that helps families who do not qualify for, or who have exhausted, government energy assistance. Administered by The Salvation Army, WAFF provides funds for all types of fuel to heat families' homes in the winter. To date, the program has disbursed over $22 million in funds to help more than 255,000 residents in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. For more information on WAFF, please visit washingtonareafuelfund.org.
  • Additional Energy Assistance Programs: In each of Washington Gas' service territories, there are a number of energy assistance programs to help residents who have difficulty paying their energy bills. These include the District of Columbia Residential Essential Service Program (RES), the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) and the Virginia Energy Assistance Program (VEAP). Assistance also may be available through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Eligibility for these programs is based on a number of factors. For more information, customers may contact Washington Gas at 703-750-1000 or visit the Energy Assistance page on the Washington gas website at: http://www.washingtongas.com/pages/EnergyEfficiencyEnergyAssistance.

Washington Gas communicates with its customers about these programs and services throughout the year, with an emphasis on providing information and assistance during the winter heating season. In addition, Washington Gas encourages customers to practice energy efficiency through a number of low- or no-cost tips, including:
  • Change or clean furnace/air filters once a month and schedule an annual furnace or boiler check-up with a licensed professional.
  • Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows.
  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates.
  • Turn the water heater down to warm or low settings, never more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash full loads of laundry and dishes.
  • Use cold water for laundry using specially formulated cold-water detergents.
  • Consider installing new, high-efficiency appliances.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR energy-efficient product label.
  • Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat, which automatically lowers the temperature setting at night and increases the setting during the day.

These and other important energy efficiency, energy assistance and safety tips are available on the Washington Gas Winter Essentials web page at: http://www.washingtongas.com/pages/WinterEssentials.

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