Keeping the Lights on During Dark Days

Posted by Written with love by the Livable Content Team on Apr 1, 2020 3:39:00 PM

 It’s clear we are living in uncertain, and often frightening times. But rather than dwelling on the negative, I prefer to stay positive and focus on some of the amazing stories we are hearing about how this terrible virus is bringing us together as a community, as a nation and as one united planet. 

 Yet even if we try to keep our mindset uplifted, we cannot  ignore the huge financial difficulties this virus is creating. To support our clients and their residents, Livable would like to announce that we are suspending all late fees until July 1.

 As you’ll see below, we are not the only ones doing our part to make sure that residents are able to afford their utilities. But we hope that this step can be one small contribution in the larger campaign to keep people comfortable in their homes as we work together to support one another, and especially the most vulnerable among us, during this crisis. 

 Stay Well,

 Many Utilities Suspend Shutoffs During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 From coast to coast, many utility companies are taking the extraordinary step of suspending shutoffs as the coronavirus sends unemployment numbers to figures not seen since the Great Depression. 

 In California, many of the state’s gas and electric companies have announced that they will not shut off customers’ power due to nonpayment. Some of the largest, like Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric and San Diego Gas and Electric, have not set an end date to this decision. 

 The quick announcement to end shutoffs stands in contrast to utilities’ reaction to the recession brought on by the 2007 financial crisis. Disconnections due to nonpayment tripled between 2007 and 2009, which is when the California Public Utilities Commission intervened to stop companies from shutting off power to customers who were late paying their bills. 

 “I think they’re having a new relationship with their customers in acknowledging that just being punitive is not the answer,” CPUC Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves told Calmatters. “And that really helping their customers stay in a home with power will only help them revive economically. And that it’s in their interest to keep these customers healthy.”

 But there is currently no statewide power shutoff ruling in California, as there have been in other states. New York and New Jersey, two of the states hardest hit by COVID-19, will keep power, heat and water on for all residents. 

“Everyone, regardless as to what industry, has to have a heightened responsibility that’s encompassed in compassion and take everything into consideration,” New Jersey state Sen. Teresa Ruiz told POLITICO. “Now is not the time to be worrying about late payments or bills. We need to get past this, hopefully, to see what we’re facing and then deal with other things.”

Access to clean water is especially essential for the good hygiene practices that help slow the spread of disease. Therefore, many states, including California, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, have issued moratoriums on water shutoffs. 

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