Patrick-Murray Administration Calls on Utilities to Extend Winter Shut-off Protection for Vulnerable Consumers
DPU says economy warrants extra protection for low-income ratepayers
DPU regulations prohibit utility companies from shutting off service (for non-payment of balance due) from November 15 through March 15 for low-income customers, including recipients of fuel assistance. Year-round service protection exists for elderly consumers, as well as those who have an infant under 12 months of age in the home or who have a serious medical condition.
"Economic conditions this year have had a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable consumers: low-income, elderly, seriously ill or disabled persons," DPU Chairman Paul Hibbard wrote in a letter to utility executives, urging them not to initiate any service termination activities until April 16.
The DPU sent letters requesting extension of the service termination moratorium to the following utility companies: Blackstone Gas, Berkshire Gas, NSTAR Gas & Electric, National Grid USA, NiSource Gas (Bay State Gas), Unitil (Fitchburg Gas & Electric), and Western Massachusetts Electric Company.