Virginia Natural Gas / Seniors being made to pay more than they earn
I am a disabled senior citizen with a very limited income. I endeavor to pay my bills, all of them, each month. However, when your income is less than your basic needs, you do the best you can for ALL of your responsibilities. One of the greatest necessities is trying to stay warm in the winter, even with very high heating bills.
Recently, I moved from my previous residence because of the high rent. I downsized to a smaller dwelling. When I moved, I closed my gas account and used the $400 deposit to help me with my medical and moving expenses. Leaving the deposit with your company as a credit was not a financial option for me, I truly needed the money to survive.
When I applied for an account, I was told that I would have to pay a new deposit which will severely increase my gas bill during the up-coming winter months. My heating bill will be high enough before paying the bill, not to mention an additional amount for deposit. I am already behind in making future payments. I've applied for fuel assistance, however, because my first bill arrived after the deadline, I may not be able to even get assistance. The last date for submission was November 12, and I received the bill on November 15.
I have struggled to pay my heating bill, sometimes before buying medicines and food. I cannot pay the bill and a deposit as well. I have been a customer for over 26 years. Surely, that is enough time to realize that I am not a risk, just an elderly disabled customer on a very fixed income.
This is not a bill that you can avoid, you must pay it. You do not, however, need to be required to pay what you do not have. Utility companies, especially when you don't have others to choose from, MUST operate business in a more compassionate way, perhaps with a waver to the elderly and indigent. During these difficult times and winter months, vulnerable customers should not be without heat or lights because of their inability to pay. I plead with you to reconsider a deposit requirement.