As temperatures plummeted and the partial government shutdown was into its third week, utility companies in the Washington region announced plans to help furloughed workers who will soon be missing paychecks.
●Pepco waived late fees and said customers could call to set up budget billing or move bill due dates. The utility also created a $50,000 matching grant to an emergency fund created by the United Way of the National Capital Area. D.C. customers can call 1-800-735-2258; Maryland customers can call 1-800-643-3768.
●D.C. Water said in a statement that it would “immediately begin working with any federal worker who may need additional flexibility in paying their bill.” Programs include extended payment plans and assistance offered through the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment. Customers can call 202-354-3600.
●Washington Gas said in a statement that it will “offer flexible payment arrangements for government employees directly impacted” by the shutdown. Programs include payment deferments, budget plans and help through a fuel assistance fund. Customers can call 1-844-WASHGAS.
●The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission said it would suspend water shut-offs and late fees, and “work one-on-one with customers impacted by the shutdown,” according to a statement. Customers can call 301-206-4001.
●Dominion Energy doesn’t have a program specifically for furloughed workers, but the utility has a number of options for energy assistance, including budget billing and programs offered through the Virginia Department of Social Services. Customers can call 866-366-4357.
Local jurisdictions offering assistance:
● Furloughed federal employees who live in Arlington County and are struggling with county utility bills can call 703-228-6570 for assistance that could include waiving late fees.
● The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to appropriate up to $25,000 to Loudoun Hunger Relief and the Dulles South Food Pantry, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror. Transit and commuter bus fees will be waived for federal employees not receiving paychecks.
●Fairfax County is funneling requests for aid through its permanent Coordinated Service Planning hot line at 703-222-0880. The program manager says more calls have been coming in from federal workers worried about rent and getting food for kids. Social workers can direct callers to nonprofits and county agencies that can help.
●Prince George’s County will offer free before- and after-school care at Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning sites and a $70,000 county fund will help residents with mortgage payments and utilities.
Interim schools chief Monica Goldson announced the creation of a fund that will allow students whose parents work for the federal government to receive free hot meals at lunch.
A full list of services offered by the county can be found at princegeorgescountymd.gov/shutdown.
Antonio Olivo, Rachel Chason, Fenit Nirappil, Ovetta Wiggins and Patricia Sullivan contributed to this report.