TOLEDO (WTOL) - Workers impacted by the government shutdown are officially missing paychecks, but bills will still be coming in for those employees.
“We will make every attempt to work with a customer to make sure they can keep their heat on and be safe and warm in their home,” said Communications Manager with Columbia Gas, Cheri Pastula.
Columbia Gas said there are some options for folks, not just those impacted by this government shutdown, but anyone who’s fallen on hard times.
The utility company said folks can sign up for a payment plan. They may also be eligible for its one-time assistance program. Just call and ask.
“Don’t ignore the bill when they come in. Give us a call. We’re work with you. We’ll help you out and get you through this tough time," Cheri said.
The number to call is 1-800-344-4077. You can also find information here:
FirstEnergy has a similar setup and released this statement, Friday:
Statement from FirstEnergy on bill assistance for federal workers impacted by the shut-down:
We are aware that the income uncertainty being experienced by federal workers who are going unpaid during the government shutdown is a major added stress for them, and we are prepared to assist them with minimizing the impact of their electricity bills.
Customers who are up-to-date on their bills can ask about our make-up agreement, which allows them to spread their current bill over the next several months to minimize the current amount due. No late payment charges will be added. While we can generally make these arrangements for two months in a row, we are prepared to offer additional months for workers impacted by the shutdown.
Budget billing, which allows customers to average their bills over 12 months, may also be used to offer relief to federal workers looking for smaller monthly payments during the high-usage winter months.
Additionally, some workers may be eligible for energy assistance programs depending on their state of residence, and our customer service representatives will consider this option for eligible customers.
We encourage workers impacted by the shutdown to call Toledo Edison customer service at 1-800-447-3333 as soon as they can to make arrangements.
The Lucas County Treasurer also offering an extension on property tax payments for federal workers impacted by the shutdown.
“Based on calls received from federal workers affected by the shutdown, the right thing to do is to offer options to these taxpayers to ensure they are not subject to penalties and interest, if they are unable to pay their property taxes on time.These public servants have no control over when this shutdown will be resolved and I want to make sure the Treasurer’s Office is working with them to provide them with assistance during this difficult time for themselves and their families,” said Lucas County Treasurer Lindsay Webb.
To qualify for the extension:
- The property must be owner occupied
- Owner must be a federal employee affected by the shutdown
- Owner must provide documentation of their lost wages they were expecting and have been delayed due to the
- Property must be current and not in prior delinquency
- All documentation must be received by the Treasurer’s Office by January 28th at 5 p.m.
Anyone with any direct questions are asked to call 419-213-4303 or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their office at One Government Center Suite 500.
Those with a mortgage payment coming, Fifth Third bank has a section on its homepage for customers to get help here.
There are also opportunities for employees out of work to de-stress a bit. The National Museum of the Great Lakes is offering free admission for shutdown-impacted employees and a guest, through the end of January.
“An opportunity to get out of the house, come out and do something, free of charge,” said Anna Kolin, Development Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes.
In order to receive free admission, federal employees must bring a government identification card and present it at the admission desk upon entering the museum.