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March 19, 2020

Utility service-shutoff moratorium extended to biz ratepayers

Photo | Flickr/Reverend Barry An electricity transmission tower in Somers.

A temporary ban on shutting off residential electricity, natural gas and water service due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has been extended to businesses and all other classes or ratepayers.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) issued the decision on Wednesday, which will be in effect through May 1, or until the agency says otherwise. 

The ruling, which came in response to a petition from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), also temporarily bars utilities from requiring security deposits or balance reduction payments to restore utility service to customers who need it.

Utilities operated by Eversource and Avangrid announced Tuesday, ahead of the order, that they were voluntarily stopping shut-offs for all customer classes as well as waiving late fees and other penalties. 

PURA is conducting ongoing proceedings with DEEP and the utilities to further explore what financial impacts the policies would have if extended. Blanket adoption of the moratorium would have “significant and far-reaching cost implications” for ratepayers in the future.

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