Piedmont Natural Gas announces additional help for customers during pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas today said it was adding steps to help customers who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional steps build on the swift actions the company offered to help customers at the start of the response to the pandemic. Piedmont suspended key credit actions, including disconnections for nonpayment, late payment fees and fees for credit card and other payments.

Piedmont, together with its parent company, also donated $6 million for COVID-19 relief efforts in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"With many homes and businesses in Nashville continuing to face financial hardships, we embraced the opportunity to support our communities and their energy needs even more," said Sasha Weintraub, Piedmont Natural Gas senior vice president. "And now, as Nashville begins to open and more jobs return, we are ready to help these same homes and businesses get back to normal."

Enhanced Customer Care

Piedmont is monitoring restart activities and local orders in Tennessee to determine when billing and payment practices can resume.

Expanded Assistance Options

Piedmont Natural Gas will continue to provide assistance to residential and business customers whose accounts have fallen behind due to illness or lost wages.

Support for these efforts include:

    --  Online tools so customers can directly choose an extended payment
        arrangement that best fits their needs.
    --  Simplified processes for accessing Low Income Home Energy Assistance
        Program (LIHEAP) and other funds available through communities'
    --  Professional guidance for small business customers to help analyze their
        energy usage, discuss energy rates and identify solutions to help lower
        their energy bills as they are reopening.
    --  Continued waiving of credit/debit card and walk-in payment fees for
        residential customers for an additional two months, once billing and
        payment practices resume in their states.

"We recommend customers continue paying what they can toward their Piedmont Natural Gas bill to minimize accumulating account balances; and for families and businesses now facing extreme financial hardships, we hope the donations and resources outlined here will provide relief and peace of mind," said Stephen Francescon, Piedmont Natural Gas community relations manager.

What Customers Can Expect

Piedmont Natural Gas customers will receive direct communication when standard billing and payment processing are expected to resume. Regardless of the timeline, all customers will have at least one full billing cycle to prepare, discuss options and make payment arrangements.

The company anticipates higher-than-normal call volume as operations return to normal and encourages customers to consider using online self-service options now to avoid long wait times.

Customers should download Piedmont's mobile app or visit piedmontng.com for information and most service transactions. Customers who are unable to self-serve can contact the company at 1.800.752.7504.

Piedmont Natural Gas customer service specialists are available Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (EST)

Customers who need financial assistance are encouraged to visit one of the local assistance agencies below:

    --  Metro Action Commission (Davidson County).
    --  Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency (Cheatham, Robertson, Rutherford,
        Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson counties).
    --  Highland Rim Economic Corporation (Dickson County)

Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is an energy services company whose principal business is the distribution of natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company also supplies natural gas to power plants. Piedmont is routinely recognized by J.D. Power for excellent customer satisfaction, and has been named by Cogent Reports as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2020 "World's Most Admired Companies" list, and Forbes' 2019 "America's Best Employers" list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Jennifer Sharpe
Office: 704.731.4108
Media line: 877.348.3612

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SOURCE Piedmont Natural Gas