Residents with overdue utility bills have until May 1 to contact the company
WESTFIELD- Westfield Gas and Electric has begun sending letters to residents informing them that the moratorium on municipal gas and electric shutoffs has been lifted.
New WG&E General Manager Thomas P. Flaherty said that the moratorium was lifted in March, but residents and commercial ratepayers who struggled to pay their bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be given a chance to set up a payment plan to slowly pay off their overdue bills.
Two thousand letters were sent out, 100 of which were sent to commercial ratepayers, while the rest were sent to residential ratepayers.
“The customers need to contact us,” said Flaherty, “They were protected from shutoffs last year, but now they need to call us to address those issues.”
During the April 7 Municipal Light Board meeting, Flaherty said that he hoped the recent round of federal stimulus checks would help alleviate some of the financial stress ratepayers may be facing.
“Hopefully the timing of this stimulus will further stimulate bills to be paid,” said Flaherty.
He urged residents to contact WG&E even if they know they cannot afford to pay the bill right now.
“We understand the special circumstances,” said Flaherty, “We will work with you to figure out how to get part of the bill paid.”
He said he hopes that most ratepayers will be able to have their bills paid in full in September.
Anyone who received a letter from WG&E, must reach out to the municipal utility by May 1, otherwise a termination notice will be sent. If they do not reply to that notice within 10 days, the utility can shut off their gas and electricity.
Gov. Charlie D. Baker’s administration extended a moratorium on power shutoffs for investor-owned utilities to July 1. WG&E is a public utility, so that extension does not apply. The Department of Public Utilities lifted the moratorium on shutoffs for public utilities on March 15.
Customers who may have difficulties paying their overdue bills are encouraged to go to www.wgeld.org/pages/residential/assistance-programs to see what assistance programs may be available to them.