TECO announced Thursday that it would provide a $500,000 boost the Salvation Army’s Share program, which helps people who cannot afford to pay their utility bills. The program was recently streamlined to better serve people during current pandemic, which led to tens of thousands of job losses so far.
The utility provider has previously announced that it would not cut off service for customers — both residential and commercial — who are unable to pay their utility bills.
“Our goal is to provide assistance and peace of mind so customers can stay focused on what’s most important — keeping themselves and their family safe and healthy,” said T.J. Szelistowski, the President of Peoples Gas. “It is important for our customers to know that we’re here for them.”
TECO is splitting another $500,000 between several charitable organizations that provide services such as meal delivery and housing assistance, among other things.
“We understand many customers may be experiencing financial hardship during this difficult time,” TECO President and CEO Nancy Tower said. “These community partners can help ease that burden for thousands of people.”
The donations follow an earlier announcement from TECO that it would pass on $130 million in fuel savings to customers, which will lower the average residential energy bill by about 11%.
The company added that it’s incorporated coronavirus best practices for its employees: All TECO workers who can do their jobs remotely are working from home; nonessential services such as energy audits have been suspended; and all essential functions are continuing with an emphasis on safety and social distancing.
As of Thursday evening, there were 2,484 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, with 29 deaths.