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Now that Kansas is under a stay-at-home order for COVID-19 for the next few weeks, Black Hills Energy has made adjustments for more immediate needs for the community.


Black Hills Energy said it will make changes to continue safety of its customers and employees in a way that is safe for everyone.


“Black Hills Energy is committed to doing its part to slow the spread of COVID-19 while proving an essential service that keeps us all warm and protected,” said Black Hills Energy Kansas general manager Jerry Watkins in a news release. “To ensure everyone’s wellbeing, we’ve activated an essential response plan aimed to do both.”


Black Hills, which has nearly 115,000 customers across the state, has said there have not been any significant impacts on energy delivery at this time.


Before the stay-at-home order, Black Hills, along with many essential service providers, temporarily suspended nonpayment disconnections for customers.


Natural gas services will be maintained for all customers along with responses to emergency calls, mandated construction work, maintaining a safe system and starting service for customers.


"As a result of possible extended periods of isolation, customers may face financial hardships impacting their ability to timely pay their energy bills," Black Hills said. "The company will offer various assistance options to customers such as payment arrangements, budget billing and medical extensions."


Added precautionary steps Black Hills is undertaking include crews wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when responding to all emergency calls; following health practices as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and paid leave provided to employees who test positive or are put under quarantine.


“If someone suspects a gas leak, they should still absolutely call 911. We’ll arrive with other first responders and help people responsibly,” Watkins said. “Our goal is to stay healthy so we can be ready to keep our communities strong.”


For more information about these programs, visit www.blackhillsenergy.com.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.