Resuming Disconnect Process
As part of our connectivity initiative, Peoples temporarily suspended non-pay disconnects and waived all late fees in an effort to support our customers impacted by COVID-19. This initiative began with the March 1st bill cycle and continued through June. Customers were notified their charges were not being waived and would be due once the non-pay extension period had ended.
We put these measures in place to assist members facing economic hardships as a result of the pandemic. During this time, the cost to supply services to our members did not change. Peoples’ responsibilities and expenses remained the same as we continued to provide services for all members.
Beginning July 1st, Peoples will resume non-pay disconnect procedures. We understand some customers may be unable to pay all past due amounts owed. We have payment plans available which would allow customers to pay out a portion of the past due amount over a 6-month period in equal installment amounts. In order to qualify for a payment agreement, customers will be required to pay June’s charges in full plus a minimum of 1/6 of any remaining past due balance on the account. Each month, customers will be required to pay current charges plus the installment amount until all past due charges have been paid in full and the account is current.
To avoid interruption in service, you must contact our office to establish a payment agreement BEFORE June 30th.
Should an account be suspended for non-pay, all charges will be due with the possibility of an additional deposit before the re-connection of the account.
Peoples takes steps to protect against COVID-19
At Peoples, we value the health and safety of our customers and employees above all else, which is why we are closely monitoring events concerning COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are fortunate that, as of yet, our area has had a limited number of reported cases of COVID-19. But it is still important for all of us to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus while remaining committed to our responsibility to keep you connected.
With that in mind, Peoples is taking the following steps, in accordance with CDC guidelines, to protect both our employees and our customers:
- Effective Friday, March 20th, Peoples Quitman and Winnsboro business offices will be closed to customer access. Our staff is still available for assistance by phone, email or chat. Payments can be made by phone, online or through the drive-thru window.
- Peoples’ employees who feel sick are being instructed to stay home.
- We are practicing social distancing. Work trips have been canceled/postponed. Outside meetings that involve large groups have been canceled or are now being conducted remotely via conference calls or video conferences.
- Employees who work directly with customers are asked to avoid shaking hands or making any physical contact.
- We are conducting regular, deep-cleaning and disinfecting of our offices.
- Before any employee will be dispatched to a customer’s home for a service call, we will ask the customer a series of questions to determine the risk of exposure to our employee. If any risk exists, the service call will be rescheduled if possible. If the service call is an emergency, special precautions must be taken by our employee and our customers before a visit can be made.
- All employees are asked to take proper precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them. Visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov for more information about COVID-19.
What We Are Doing For You
To support the added broadband needs many customers may require during this time, we will upgrade your internet package to an appropriate speed at no cost through the month of May. For homes needing to establish new service, installation fees will be waived and the first month of service will be at no charge for requests submitted thru April 30th. The connectivity initiative for new customers will be extended thru May 30th.
Please call the office to discuss your needs with a customer service specialist.
Working From Home
If your employer has adopted a work-from-home policy, you may need a more robust broadband connection for tasks such as connecting to remote servers, transferring large files and video conferencing.
If your school has adopted an online-only policy, you may need a more robust broadband connection for videoconferencing, connecting to online educational resources and other distance learning tasks.
Many people are following CDC recommendations to limit their exposure to the virus by avoiding crowds. If you find yourself at home more than usual, you may need a more robust broadband connection for streaming movies, gaming and videoconferencing with family and friends.
Helping with Economic Hardships
For many industries, the impact of COVID-19 will be felt immediately. Several of our customers may see their incomes impacted as they are told to stay home from work.
As a service provider invested in our communities, we are committed to helping our members get through these uncertain times. That’s why, Peoples is suspending all service disconnect orders and waiving late fees for the next 60 days which will include March and April billing cycles. Charges to your account will still accrue.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely and explore further measures to support our customers and the community as needed. Follow us on social media for updates as the information and guidance we receive continues to evolve.
Posted: March 17, 2020