SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Some pandemic-era protections are ending in less than a week. 22News explains what you can do if you or someone you know is at risk for being cut off.

On July 1st the utility shut-off ban ends. If you are at risk of your utilities being shut off, Attorney General Maura Healey advises to call your gas, electric and water companies and ask them about payment plans including low-income payment plans.

If you’ve lost your job or a significant portion of your income due to the COVID economy, you may be eligible for a low-income discount rate. But you do not need to be low income to qualify for a payment plan.

Healey says as long as you are on a plan, your service will not be shut of and that the utility companies will continue to offer payment plans for residential customers for 90 days following the end of the moratorium.
You are still responsible for paying for the utility services that you use, even during a moratorium on shut-offs.

“Get in touch with somebody one on one and say here’s my situation, here’s what I can afford to pay. What program do I qualify for or will it be something where I know how much I can pay maybe weekly, maybe bi-weekly, maybe just to get that bill down.” Priscilla Ress, Eversource

Making no payments during shut-off protection means a larger utility bill and the possibility of disconnection once that protection ends. Paying what you can helps avoid large balances and shut-offs once the moratorium ends.

If you’ve received a shut-off notice from your electric or gas utility, call your utility immediately and ask to enroll in a payment plan. Also ask your electric or gas utility if you qualify for a forgiveness program.