Today, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) acted to prohibit residential utility service terminations through November 15.
As the pandemic and resulting financial crisis continue, many remain concerned about an end to utility shut-off moratoriums. The governor’s moratorium put in place by executive order is set to expire September 1. Today, after hearings on the impacts of COVID-19 on customers, the PSC decided to extend the statewide moratorium and prohibit service terminations. Under the ruling issued today, utilities will not be able to shut off services until November 15, and notices may not be sent until October 1. Utilities must also offer a minimum twelve month repayment plan for customers, and they may not require a down payment for services. The PSC regulates important services such as electricity, gas, and water suppliers.
From the press release:
“The Commission’s goal is help those customers struggling with household expenses during this difficult time and to ensure that their utility services remain connected,” said Jason M. Stanek, Chairman of the Maryland PSC. “It is important that customers behind on their utility bills not wait for a turn-off notice or, when they receive one, to contact their utility right away and work with them to discuss payment plans and bill assistance programs that are available to help them. The Commission is holding utilities responsible for proactive outreach to their customers to let them know about utility, state and community resources that are available to assist customers who are unable to pay their bills due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to keep customers in service if they enter into a payment arrangement.”
For more information, view the press release.