Regulatory protections that keep customers from getting their utilities disconnected for nonpayment of bills have expired in nearly half of the states as of April 1.
By April 15 or April 30, another 10 states’ protections, also called shutoff moratoria, will expire.
However, many utilities will work with customers who have delinquent bills and set them up on a payment plan. For example, in Wisconsin, where the moratorium ends April 15, representatives from Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Alliant Energy said that as long as customers agree to a payment plan and make payments they won’t be shut off. Many utilities also have their own charitable funds to help customers who are behind on their bills.
In Minnesota, where April 15 also marks the end of the moratorium, utilities urge customers to sign up for payment plans. The state’s investor-owned gas utilities are required to offer Gas Affordability Programs (GAPs), wherein qualifying low-income customers pay only a limited percentage of their incomes toward their gas bills. CenterPoint Energy, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Energy Resources, Alliant Energy/Interstate Power and Greater Minnesota Gas all offer GAPs. Participating customers must be LIHEAP recipients, agree to be placed on a level payment plan and make the required payment each month.
For more information about disconnection policies and related resources available to consumers in each state, see the Clearinghouse’s newly updated website table.
Source: newspapers, Clearinghouse