NOVEC Start Allowing Payment Arrangements for Delinquent Accounts
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Upon facing recent financial difficulties, I discovered that my local electric company in Prince William County, Virginia, Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC), does not offer any type of payment arrangement options for customers in order to allow them to keep their power on while they pay off their delinquent accounts. According to NOVEC's customer service department, the only option available is assistance from charity organizations. Charity wasn't needed. I just needed an extension from January 22nd to February 1st for a meager $137.00 which is pretty good for an all-electric condo in the winter. It didn't matter to NOVEC that I've lived at my address for 14 years and pay every month and even had an online payment scheduled for the 1st. Either I paid the $137.00 that day or my power would be disconnected. I was fortunate enough to have family to borrow the money from, but many of my neighbors may not be in this position. They, like me, probably don't need a hand-out, just a few extra days. NOVEC would have been paid in full for January's bill and paid early for February but it didn't matter. With temperatures in much of the country falling to subzero recently, failure to offer customers the ability to set up a payment arrangement becomes a humanitarian issue. For this reason, I am petitioning NOVEC and the Virginia State Corporation Commission (who I understand regulates the operations of utility companies) to allow NOVEC customers the ability to pay off their past due balances within a 30-60 period without fear of disconnection. Upon researching other utility companies, including Dominion Virginia Power and BGE, payment arrangments are available to their customers. The ten-day grace period by NOVEC is not enough to protect families from living in the dark and sleeping in the cold.
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