For Immediate Release - March 11, 2005

State Extends Moratorium On Utility Service Shut-Offs

Severity of Winter Weather & Resulting Higher Energy Costs Prompts Action

Due to the severity of the winter and sustained below normal temperatures, the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy ("DTE") today requested that gas and electric utility companies extend the moratorium for terminating any heat-providing service contracts through April 30, 2005.

"Our decision recognizes the financial burden that an unusually cold and perhaps lengthier than normal winter will have on many households' budgets. This action gives an extra measure of protection for the state's most vulnerable population," said DTE Consumer Commissioner Judith F. Judson.

From November 15 th through March 15th each year, utility companies are prohibited from terminating service that directly or indirectly provides heat to customers with a financial hardship. The DTE's authority for extending the moratorium falls within billing and termination procedures for all Massachusetts gas and electric companies.

The DTE has extended the moratorium for terminating heat-providing service due to financial hardship four of the last five years. The utilities have always been cooperative in this safety initiative.

Consumers who meet eligibility requirements are reminded to apply for state fuel and heating assistance. Details on these programs as well as rebates offered for installation of home winterization measures are available on the DTE website at www.mass.gov/dte.