PSC extends residential utility shutoff moratorium to September

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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission voted Thursday to extend the state’s moratorium on residential utility shutoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The shutoff moratorium was originally supposed to end Saturday.

The vote to extend the moratorium means Wisconsinites won’t have to worry about their utilities being shut off through Sept. 1 due to missed or late payments.

“It is our obligation to strike a balance to ensure the financial health of utilities, but also ensure customer safeguards are in place. It is our role to provide clarity to utilities, but be nimble enough to press the pause button when it is in the public interest to do so,” PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq said. “We must press the pause button today on utility disconnections as the risk to public health is far greater today than it was a month ago, while the financial  impact to utilities has been minimal.”

PSC officials said they extension will give them more time to get information from utility providers regarding their current disconnection plans.

In June, PSC voted to lift the moratorium that was originally put in place in March. During the vote in June, PSC voted to require that utility providers delay disconnection 21 days for anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. That time frame could be extended by an additional 21 days if the person is still quarantining after the original 21 days.

PSC recommends that any residents who are struggling financially apply for help from the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. Residents can find out if they are eligible here. Anyone who is unable to reach an agreement with their utility should file a complaint on PSC’s website or call 1-800-225-7729.