Wisconsin Utility Shutoff Moratorium Extends Until Next Spring
Wisconsin state regulators have extended the moratorium for utility shutoffs for water, electric, and gas service to November 1; that November 1 date is also the start of the standing moratorium on winter-time shutoffs, essentially making the extension last through until next spring for all utilities except water. The spring time end date for the shutoff moratorium is April 15.
Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Wisconsin regulators have been extending the date. According to news sources:
"Last month, the Public Service Commission voted 2 to 1 to extend the temporary moratorium until Oct. 1. The moratorium is part of an order the commission issued in March that prevented utilities from disconnecting water, electricity and heat for customers who couldn't pay their utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The extension of the moratorium couldn't come at a more opportune time for some customers:
"At least 47 water utilities filed plans to disconnect service for around 10,000 customers if the moratorium were lifted October 1, according to an August survey by the commission. Utilities must now update or file their disconnection plans with the commission by October 10. Disconnection notices could be sent to customers beginning November 1, and the earliest someone's water could be shut off is November 15."
In addition to the extended moratorium, the commission has made plans to take care of those customers who might have contacted COVID-19. Those customers get a 21 day extension, with an additional 21 days available if they remain in quarantine.
News sources share that nearly one-third of Wisconsin residential utility customers had past-due bills, amounting to " $235.7 million as of August". Comparably, only 12% of customers had overdue bills in each of the past two years during a similar time period.
Even with the extensions and allowances being made, utility companies suggest that customers who are encountering problems reach out to discuss payment plans and procedures. The regulators are suggesting that utility companies have proposals in to them by January 15, 2021 as to how they plan to proceed with overdue customers.