Wisconsin regulators cite surge in COVID-19 cases, delay shutoffs of utility customers
Disconnections of utility customers in Wisconsin won’t start this weekend after the Public Service Commission voted to delay shutoffs until Sept. 1, citing worsening COVID-19 statistics in Wisconsin.
The PSC voted 2-1 to require utilities to hold off on disconnecting customers who are behind on their bills, citing changed circumstances since the Commission’s last meeting on this more than a month ago.
“The Commission is clearly trying to strike a balance here, and clearly there will be costs that come due at some point, but record case numbers in Wisconsin compelled the Commission to act for public health and safety reasons,” said Tom Content of the Citizens Utility Board.
CUB last week urged utilities to be flexible with customers who are behind on their bills and asked utilities to hold off on disconnecting any customers until October.
The Commission at its weekly meeting Thursday received information from PSC staff indicating that 71,000 households were at risk of shutoff. The Commission agreed to revisit the issue at a meeting planned for Aug. 20.
“Clearly there are a lot of folks who are hurting, and this is the time to be connecting them with available resources,” said Content.
Wisconsin has $8 million of energy assistance for low income customers available through the Federal Cares Act. The state, along with Dane and Milwaukee counties, have $45 million in rental assistance funding designed to stave off evictions.
Congress is expected to vote in the coming weeks on a pandemic response bill, and utilities and consumer advocates alike have called for it to include billions more nationwide for energy assistance. A version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives included expanded funding for energy assistance, rental assistance and also created a fund to support water utility customers hard hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
Information about resources for utility customers is available at cubwi.org/covid19.
- Foundation Allocates $30 Million To Equitable COVID-19 Business Recovery - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 5th, 2020
- After Prison Population Increase, the ACLU of Wisconsin Calls on Leadership to Reduce Incarcerated Population During Pandemic - American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin - Aug 5th, 2020
- Living Day to Day as an Essential Worker - Edgar Mendez - Aug 5th, 2020
- WI Veterans Chamber Executive Director Selected for Economic Recovery Fellowship - Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce - Aug 5th, 2020
- How Will Health Dept. Free Mask Program Work? - Bridget Fogarty - Aug 5th, 2020
- AG Kaul Urges Senate to Ensure Relief for All Federal Student Loan Borrowers Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic - Josh Kaul - Aug 5th, 2020
- Evers Says No Statewide School Re-Opening Plan - Erik Gunn - Aug 5th, 2020
- Health Departments Can Enforce State Mask-Mandate - Rich Kremer - Aug 5th, 2020
- Federal Grant to Address Behavioral Health During COVID-19 Pandemic - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Aug 5th, 2020
- Nine Businesses Receive Warnings For Violating Milwaukee Mask Mandate - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 4th, 2020
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin
In addition, the applicants’ analysis was insufficient regarding advances in utility-scale solar projects and battery storage.
Public Comment Period Coming to a Close