by Eric Pauli, Community Relations Manager
At Xcel Energy, we have a long history of giving back to Sioux Falls and all the communities we serve. We're committed to doing everything we can to help keep our employees and customers safe and healthy during this unprecedented global crisis.
We know that our communities and customers will face more challenges as we continue to fight this pandemic. That's why we're dedicating $20 million in new funding to support short- and long-term corporate giving across the eight states we serve, including support for COVID-19 recovery efforts. And we recently launched a new $300,000 COVID-19 Disaster Response Matching Gifts Campaign, which will triple employees' contributions to eligible nonprofits.
As the pandemic continues, we want to ensure people have the energy they need to power their homes and keep their families safe. In March, we announced that we will not disconnect residential customers' electric service until further notice. For any customer who has difficulty paying their bill, we encourage them to call us, and we will work with them to arrange payment plans.
Xcel Energy provides electric service to more than 95,000 customers in South Dakota, and our priority is keeping the lights on for everyone, with a focus on safety. That's why our crews are taking extra safety precautions as they continue working in the field to maintain the critical infrastructure that serves customers. For example, you may see crews wearing masks while they're on the job. Our employees have always used protective masks to stay safe when working on heavy construction, in dusty conditions and during wildfires, and we have expanded the use of those masks and face coverings during this pandemic.
Since we regularly stock protective masks, we have been able to share some of our supply with the health care workers who have a critical need for them. We were able to donate 10,000 surgical masks and 225 N95 masks in South Dakota last month. The masks went right to the front lines of the pandemic, to health care workers at Sanford Health and Avera Health.
Remember, Xcel Energy is always here – working hard to keep the lights on, and ready to support the communities we are honored to serve. We're all in this together.