Relief: PSC extends moratorium on utility shut-offs until October 1
Yesterday (Thursday, August 20th) the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin extended its July decision to forbid Wisconsin utilities from disconnecting customers who have fallen behind on payments, with the moratorium on utility shut-offs now in effect until October 1.
Prior to taking Thursday’s vote, PSC members cited worsening coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates across the state, as positive cases have doubled in Wisconsin since the PSC’s last vote in late July.
The 2-1 vote was a replay of the commission’s July 24 decision, with Chairwoman Rebecca Cameron Valcq and Commissioner Tyler Huebner voting to extend the moratorium and Commissioner Ellen Nowak voting against the extension.
“It’s not a secret that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t under control and that the deep economic calamity remains, especially for thousands of African American and Latinx residents across our city,” Alderman Rainey said.
“The PSC again made the right call, as it is in the best interest of our residents to not disconnect them from cooling, light and some semblance of normalcy during this devastating pandemic,” he said. “Also, with school about to start and students requiring power to be able to connect laptops and tablets for online learning, I believe it would be a profoundly discriminatory action to cut off the educational lifeline for thousands of students at this critical time.”
The PSC will vote on September 17 to consider extending or ending the moratorium. Extending the moratorium into November would coincide with the annual winter heating shut-off moratorium, effectively preventing utility cutoffs until April 2021.
The joint letter in July authored by Alderman Rainey was co-signed by 13 other members of the Common Council.
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