PURA Directs Utilities to Cease Residential Shut-offs During COVID-19 Outbreak
Moratorium on Utility Service Terminations
Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced that it issued a ruling directing all regulated electric, natural gas, and water companies in the state to cease residential service terminations for nonpayment as a protective measure during the current public health emergency.
Yesterday, March 12, 2020, PURA received a petition from Attorney General William Tong requesting that PURA convene a docket to consider establishing a 30-day moratorium on utility service terminations (electric/gas/water) due to the public health emergency. In response, PURA convened a docket – 20-03-15 – to consider and act on the Attorney General’s petition.
PURA’s ruling applies to PURA-regulated public service companies and will remain in effect at least for the duration of the Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergency declared by Governor Lamont on March 10, 2020.
Residential customers should continue paying their bills and understand that they will ultimately be responsible for utility services accrued during this moratorium. PURA’s ruling prohibits the regulated utilities from terminating service for nonpayment while the moratorium is in effect.
There are existing resources in place for residential customers that are facing financial or medical hardship. This PURA shut-off moratorium differs from the statutory Winter Protection Program in that the PURA ruling applies to regulated water utilities as well as gas and electric utilities, and that it applies to all residential customers. PURA notes that any additional financial relief outside of the existing hardship protections would need to be considered through Docket Number 20-03-15.
Unless PURA takes further action, the conclusion of the emergency declaration will end the PURA shut-off moratorium. At that time, the regulated utility companies can begin processing service terminations, pursuant to their normal business protocols. Customers identified to the utilities as a financial hardship customer will remain protected from service termination through May 1 under the statutory Winter Protection Program.