Hundreds of thousands of people face utility shutoffs as pandemic surges

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Contributed date

December 7, 2020 - 11:48am

Critical Commentary

This article discusses the ending of the utility moratorium in Pennsylvania, which expired on November 9th, 2020. As of June, 800,000 customers were at risk of a utility shut-off post-moratorium, but that number is likely higher now. According to PUC's order, anyone whose household income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level — about $65,000 a year for a family of three — can be protected from utility terminations, thus the utility moratorium is essentially extended for the most vulnerable of the energy vulnerable in PA. Under state law, publicly regulated utility companies are obligated to tell consumers how to avoid termination. That might include assistance programs they may be eligible for, many of which are funded by the state. PECO lists some of these programs on its website. Unfortunately, the Commission's order does not require that utility companies ensure that customers are educated on their options to avoid service termination in the short time frame between the ending moratorium and service terminations commencing, and Community Legal Services has filed a petition for clarification on this point. 

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Anonymous, "Hundreds of thousands of people face utility shutoffs as pandemic surges", contributed by Morgan Sarao, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 7 December 2020, accessed 16 August 2022. https://energyrights.info/content/hundreds-thousands-people-face-utility-shutoffs-pandemic-surges-0