SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – SMUD announced Thursday that their suspension of power shutoffs due to non-payment is being extended to May 30 as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow.

“We made this decision due to the impact that COVID-19 is having on our local communities,” said Arlen Orchard, CEO and General Manager of SMUD. “We want to ensure that our most vulnerable customers have access to power during these times.”

The company initially began its suspension of shutoffs due to non-payment on March 13 and meant for it to last until the end of March until they extended it to April 17 and again now.

SMUD said that customers who are currently behind on their bills or those who do fall behind during this period will still owe for service, but will just not see their power cutoff.

“In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, SMUD has taken a number of actions to keep its employees and the community safe,” the company said in a news release. “As an essential service provider, SMUD is proactively minimizing risk to employees to ensure reliable electric service and is asking the public to abide by the social distancing guidelines and not approach work crews. Their safety and well-being is key to keeping our community powered, so please thank them from afar.”

This decision comes as Sacramento County nears 350 total cases, California surpasses 11,000 cases and the U.S. nears 250,000 cases of COVID-19 (numbers provided by Johns Hopkins University).

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