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GRU

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Coronavirus Letter Update

GRU Responds to COVID-19 Pandemic

For more than a month, GRU has been responding to the developing situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, with the commitment to safely deliver life-essential electric, water, wastewater, gas and telecommunications services as our number-one priority.  

As changing conditions have presented a number of challenges for our community, GRU has taken several steps to ensure the fluidity of our operations and ease the household financial burden in these uncertain times. 

Coronavirus Relief

Lower Bills GRU lowered all customer fuel charges in February and again in April. Without a clear picture how long COVID-19 may impact our customers, we extended those reductions through September and anticipate these actions will save customers 17 percent on fuel charges over the next six months.

By continuing those savings through summer, GRU is helping customers when usage is highest and they need the most relief. We are confident this is the best approach for all customers, especially with the uncertainty that lies ahead.

No Late Fees GRU has suspended late fees for all customers through at least June 12 with the understanding that many are unable to pay on time due to loss of income related to shutdowns resulting from COVID-19. 

No Shut-offs GRU has suspended disconnections for all customers through at least June 12. Failure to pay your current balance will not result in the suspension of services. This allows customers to rest at ease knowing their utilities will be available to them in this time of need, even if they are incapable of paying their bill. 

Customer Lobby Closed GRU has closed the customer lobby until at least June 12 in accordance with social distancing recommendations and to ensure the safety of both GRU employees and customers. The following options for payment are still available:

  • Phone: Customer service representatives are available at 352-334-3434, Mon, Tue, Thu, and Fri, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and Wed, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Drive-thru: GRU’s drive-thru remains open Mon-Fri, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Online: GRU offers several convenient online payment options at gru.com.

Relaxed billing standards are designed to provide temporary relief and accommodate a short-term period of adjustment to the COVID-19 crisis. However, we strongly recommended that all who are capable stay current on their balance. GRU services are still being metered and billed, and failure to pay will result in an accrual of charges that will remain on the account, which could become difficult to manage once conditions return to normal. 

Installment Plans/Extensions Available
We understand that some customers may find themselves with a past-due balance. GRU encourages those customers to call 352-334-3434 to discuss an installment plan or longer extension. 

Keeping Our Community Safe

Practicing Social Distancing GRU has altered schedules and allowed as many employees as possible to work remotely to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 throughout our workforce and the community. We have suspended all community events, business travel and non-essential in-home services. 

Personal Protection Equipment In accordance with the Alachua County Emergency Order to encourage the use of facial coverings, GRU has made CDC-recommended facial coverings available to all employees. We encourage all employees to wear a facial covering and require field employees to cover up when coming into close contact with another member of our community.  

Prepared to Shelter-in-Place For the last several weeks, GRU has been preparing for the decision to restrict essential plant workers to on-site isolation, providing a live-at-work situation that would ensure the health and safety of the personnel most essential to keeping GRU services running. 

Quality Control All GRU services have maintained quality and safety standards. Since GRU started preparing its COVID-19 response, our Water Department has delivered 750 million gallons of safe water to our customers and our Wastewater Department has treated 500 million gallons of wastewater.

GRU is prepared to continue providing life’s essential services while offering financial relief and peace of mind to our customers. We encourage you to direct questions and concerns to our customer service line at 352-334-3434 and will continue to provide updates on Facebook @GRU4U and on the web at gru.com/coronavirus. Stay safe out there. 

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GRU is Prepared to Deliver Non-Stop Service

For more than 100 years, GRU has provided our community with the essentials of life, while holding public and employee safety above all else.

I want to take a moment to reassure everyone in our service area that, in keeping with our longstanding commitment, GRU is equipped and prepared to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 as they arise. 

In addition to our promise of providing safe, uninterrupted services, we’ve recognized the potential financial hardship and uncertainty our customers are facing by suspending all disconnections until further notice. 

GRU management is continuously monitoring coronavirus updates and will take all measures necessary to protect the community and our employees. 

Stay safe, everyone! 

Ed Bielarski, GRU General Manager

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GRU Extends Date of No-Shutoffs/No-Late Fees Policy

May 12

GRU will not disconnect customers for nonpayment or charge late fees through at least June 12, General Manager Ed Bielarski announced today.

GRU had previously suspended late fees and disconnections through May 15 but extended the moratorium as many customers continue to feel a financial strain from COVID-19. GRU will continue to monitor the impacts of coronavirus on our community and make decisions that are in the best interest of our customers and employees.

GRU’s customer lobby also will remain closed until further notice; however, its drive-thru will continue to maintain normal operating hours. Customers are urged to continue making regular payments if possible to avoid creating an unmanageable past-due balance.

GRU Extends Date of No-Disconnects/No-Late Fees Policy

April 1

GRU will not disconnect residential or non-residential customers for nonpayment or charge late fees at least through May 15, General Manager Ed Bielarski announced. GRU had previously suspended late fees through the end of April and disconnections until further notice. GRU will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our community and make decisions that are in the best interest of our customers and employees.

Customers are urged to continue making regular payments if possible to avoid creating an unmanageable past-due balance.

GRU Not Charging Late Fees

March 25

GRU will not charge late fees to residential and non-residential customers through April 30 in response to the financial strain caused by COVID-19. With nonessential businesses shut down due to an emergency stay-at-home order and the continued financial uncertainty of GRU customers, General Manager Ed Bielarski decided Wednesday, March 25, to stop collecting late fees effective immediately. 

GRU will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community and make decisions that help ease the burden on our customers during these difficult times.

GRU Suspends Customer Disconnects

March 16

GRU is offering relief to customers during the COVID-19 crisis by suspending residential service disconnections. 

We understand the importance of uninterrupted utility services, especially as many in our community may need to work from home or self-isolate. As a result, GRU management and the Gainesville City Commission decided in a meeting on March 12 to suspend utility shutoffs for at least 30 days beginning March 16. The commission will determine during its regular meeting on April 2 whether to continue the policy. 

GRU currently gives customers a 21-day grace period before suspending utility services and doesn’t perform shutoffs on Fridays or weekends. While GRU’s lobby continues to maintain regular operating hours, we encourage customers to take advantage of convenient self-service payment options offered on gru.com or to make phone payments by calling 352-334-3434. 

Customers are urged to continue making regular payments if possible to avoid creating an unmanageable past-due balance. 

GRU Closes Customer Lobby 

March 25

For the health and safety of our customers and employees, GRU has closed its Administration Building lobby at 301 S.E. 4th Ave. until at least May 15th; GRU’s drive-thru will maintain normal hours. 

GRU will continue to provide world-class customer service through several other payment options:

  • Drive-thru: GRU’s drive-thru remains open Monday-Friday, 7:30 am. – 6 p.m.
  • Phone: Customer service representatives are available at 352-334-3434 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Online – GRU offers several convenient online payment options at gru.com.

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Important Information from GRU Water/Wastewater

GRU understands that this is a stressful time for our community and for the households and businesses we serve. Please know that we are here for you and are committed to taking all steps necessary to maintain safe, reliable water and wastewater service. Please also note the following:

     Your water is safe.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual.
  • COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water supplies.
  • Hand washing using tap water is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Given the importance of hygiene and sanitation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, GRU has suspended disconnections for nonpayment until further notice.
  • Only flush the 3Ps: paper, pee and poo! Paper towels, “flushable” wipes, napkins, tampons, cotton balls, dental floss or other substances can result in backups in your home and overflows in the environment.
  • Curb non-essential water use so we can focus our efforts on using this precious resource for public health and safety.
  • Starting the second Sunday in March, homes and businesses should irrigate before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. on the following days:
  • Odd House # - Wednesday and/or Saturday
  • Even House # - Thursday and/or Sunday
  • Non-Residential – Tuesday and/or Friday

We are well-prepared to continue providing water service throughout this pandemic. We have staff and infrastructure in place to maintain water and wastewater service around the clock to help keep families healthy, clean and hydrated. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at 352-393-2711.

Water/Wastewater Updates for Commercial Customers

GRU recognizes that COVID-19 has caused day-to-day operations to change quickly and remain fluid based on orders by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, Gainesville City Commission, governor, Centers for Disease Control and other authorities. During this challenging time we have received questions from commercial customers and wanted to provide an update on the current status of GRU’s Environmental Compliance Programs and provide you with recommendations to consider during this reduction in operation.

Food Service Establishments – please see this memo for an important FOG MEMO message regarding Fats, Oils and Grease permit compliance during COVID-19 precautions.

Industrial Pretreatment Customers – please see this memo IPP MEMO for an important message regarding permit compliance during COVID-19 precautions.

Reopening Commercial Buildings — Has your commercial building been sitting unused during this time? See the CDC link below for guidance on flushing to ensure good water quality when you restore operations. Please see this letter from Water/Wastewater on stagnant water.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html