English Español
Home/Issues/Energy, Utilities & Communications

Energy, Utilities & Communications


Federal COVID-19 Relief for Water & Sewer Bills

2021-04-06T13:02:31-05:00April 6, 2021|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

This blog is co-authored by Olivia Wein (National Consumer Law Center) and  Larry Levine (NRDC) For many of us, the accelerating rollout of COVID-19 vaccines provides hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. But the vaccines are still in a race against time, with COVID-19 again resurging in many states. Maintaining access [...]

Protecting Seriously Ill Consumers from Utility Disconnections: What States Can Do to Save Lives Now

2021-02-24T13:55:14-05:00February 23, 2021|Categories: Energy, Utilities & Communications|

State utility commissions set the rules regarding when and how the companies they regulate can terminate vital electric and gas service for non-payment. For households with a seriously ill person, strong rules, as detailed in this report, can mean the difference between life and death.   Report Summary Tables Appendix A: Serious Illness Criteria In [...]

States Must Help Protect Vital Utility Service During the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic:  Models from Three States

2020-09-17T08:27:53-05:00September 17, 2020|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread through the United States, with its accompanying economic shutdown, several states adopted a moratorium on terminations of utility service.  However, in most states that adopted moratoriums, those termination prohibitions have already expired or will within the next few months. Legislators and utility regulators must act now to extend these moratoriums [...]

Residential Electricity Sales: The Early COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Period

2020-07-08T14:23:01-05:00July 8, 2020|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

Part 1 of 2 on consumer protections needed during and after COVID-19. By John Howat, Senior Energy Analyst, National Consumer Law Center July 8, 2020 The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s most recent Electric Power Monthly, released on June 24, provides sales, price and revenue data by end-use sector and Census Division for April, 2020.  Data [...]

Affordable Broadband Service is a Racial Equity and Public Health Priority During COVID-19

2020-06-29T13:56:49-05:00June 29, 2020|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

Cross-posted with the United Church of Christ, OC, Inc. and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights By Olivia Wein, National Consumer Law Center and Cheryl Leanza, United Church of Christ, OC, Inc. If you are reading this on your smartphone or laptop, you are fortunate to have access to internet service. More than 20 [...]

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): A Safety Net that Saves Lives

2019-03-07T09:16:50-05:00March 29, 2017|Categories: Energy, Utilities & Communications|

Print in PDF  The federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides life-saving assistance for low-income households with young children, frail elderly, and individuals with disabilities, by helping to pay electricity, gas, and oil bills. Payments are generally made to the utility or fuel vendor directly to help ensure that utility service is not [...]

Low Income Consumers Won’t Pay for MA Solar Programs

2016-11-03T20:12:40-05:00November 3, 2016|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

Across the country, advocates for low-income energy customers are grappling with rate design and fair solar power policies. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) recently issued a decision that could help guide other successful advocacy work. In late 2015, National Grid asked the Massachusetts DPU to raise the electricity rates that it can charge [...]

Payday Loan Stores Shouldn’t be Utility Bill Payment Centers

2016-10-25T16:36:44-05:00October 25, 2016|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

Last month, the Missouri Public Service Commission joined Arizona and Nevada as states where utilities, as a result of pressure from consumer advocates, have been compelled or voluntarily agreed to cut contractual ties with payday lenders. Some utilities enter into contracts with payday and other short-term predatory lenders to accept bill payment from customers. Payday [...]

AMPs are a Win-Win for Low-Income Customers and Utilities

2016-06-10T15:21:25-05:00June 10, 2016|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

Across the country, low-income consumers are struggling to pay their utility bills. In fact, one report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that collections in the “utilities or energy” category is the third most common item on consumers’ credit reports. Their study indicates that approximately one in thirteen consumers has a credit report containing [...]