A Message from Virginia Chamber President & CEO, Barry DuVal
On Friday, Governor Northam announced that Hampton Roads will re-join the rest of the Commonwealth in Phase 3 of the “Forward Virginia” plan. Over the last six weeks, the Hampton Roads region was placed under targeted COVID-19 restrictions including a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, a requirement to stop the sale of alcohol at 10:00pm, and a requirement that all restaurants close by midnight. In last week’s announcement, the Governor attributed the easing of these restrictions to the improved health metrics, stating that number of positive cases in Hampton Roads has been decreasing for more than 45 days. More information can be found here.
Last month, I announced that the Virginia Chamber Foundation would be partnering with Dominion Energy to bring relief to small businesses in the Commonwealth. Dominion Energy Virginia has pledged $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000. I encourage our small business community to visit the website to learn more information about this invaluable program and apply today. More information can be found here. I would also like to thank and acknowledge our other partners in this important initiative:
- The Asian American Chamber of Commerce
- The Metropolitan Business League
- The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce
- The Urban League of Hampton Roads
- The Virginia Asian American Chamber of Commerce
- The Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
- The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
This Thursday, September 17, the Virginia Chamber will host our next signature event – The Virginia Conference on Energy Diversity & Corporate Sustainability. Now hosted as a virtual conference, attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from business and policy leaders on how we can make Virginia more competitive through corporate sustainability and a diverse energy portfolio. Follow this link to review the full agenda and register today.
This week, the Virginia Chamber is pleased to recognize Appalachian Power for its continued support of communities across the Commonwealth and nation during COVID-19.
Appalachian Power’s history in Virginia dates back more than 100 years. A part of American Electric Power, the company today provides safe and reliable electric service to approximately 1 million customers in far southwest, southern and central Virginia, as well as portions of West Virginia and Tennessee. Through the work of dedicated employees, Appalachian Power achieves its mission to power the economy, while investing in its communities to help meet economic development, environmental, educational and other needs. Appalachian Power has applied this same approach to helping its customers, employees and communities during the pandemic.
In response to COVID-19, Appalachian Power temporarily stopped all service disconnections for non-payment. As part of its return to standard business operations, the company has since focused its efforts on helping residential and business customers affected by the pandemic find a flexible payment arrangement that meets their needs. The company also put a program together to help business customers fully leverage the CARES Act and brought awareness to other loans and funding available.
I want to applaud Appalachian Power for its efforts to help the community and encourage you to learn more about this week’s “Member Spotlight” below.
Member Spotlight: Appalachian Power
In addition to the information highlighted above, Appalachian Power and the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation have contributed more than $500,000 to help customers and communities affected by the pandemic.
- Donated $288,000 to United Way chapters, food banks and feeding centers to help those most affected by the pandemic.
- Donated $120,000 to United Way organizations in its service area to provide facemasks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff, volunteers and clients of United Way agencies.
- Donated $50,000 to local and regional economic development organizations across its three-state service area to assist with office expenses, such as software to accommodate virtual meetings, during the pandemic.
- Provided $73,000 to create free WiFi hotspots at schools and community centers across Appalachian Power’s service area. The hotspots allow students to easily access education materials and classroom assignments from their laptops, iPads or phones if they don’t have internet access at home.
Click here to learn about Appalachian Power’s year-round investments and volunteer efforts in its communities.