(WWLP) – The Department of Public Utilities is extending the temporary ban on residential gas, electric, and water shutoffs.
People who can’t afford to pay their utilities won’t experience shutoffs for the next few months. It was originally set to expire in April, but it will now last until July 1.
This will give people more time to coordinate a payment plan with a utility company and learn more about financial assistance programs.
“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to take important steps to ensure continued reliable gas and electric service while protecting residents that are struggling with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DPU Chairman Matthew Nelson. “While this Order will guarantee Massachusetts residents and families who are facing financial hardships due to the pandemic will have uninterrupted gas, electric, and water utility service, we urge residents experiencing financial hardship to be aware of protections and to contact their utility company for assistance.”
In August, the DPU issued an Order adopting the Working Group’s recommendations for ending the shutoff moratorium and instituting important new ratepayer protection provisions, including:
- Utility companies cannot assess late fees or discontinue service to customers enrolled in a payment plan.
- To ensure customers have notice of any potential shutoff, companies are required, in advance of any potential shutoff, to issue notices to customers that inform customers about the payments due, the availability of payment plans, and the potential for shutoffs.
- Companies must continue waiving late payment fees for small Commercial & Industrial customers for six months following the date that Governor Baker lifts the State of Emergency.
- Companies are required to waive any previously required “good faith payments” in circumstances where a customer re-enrolls in an arrearage management plan (AMP) after breaking from a prior AMP.