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Energy, Utilities & Communications

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New D.C. Study Shows How Arrearage Management Programs Are a Win-Win for Companies and Customers Alike

2021-07-15T15:41:28-05:00July 15, 2021|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

COVID and Utility Arrearages The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the fact that millions of Americans cannot afford the bills for utility service that keep the lights on, the food in the refrigerator cold, the air conditioning running in the summer, and the heating system running in the winter.  In order to protect [...]

How a New Federal Program Is Helping More People Get Connected to Broadband

2021-06-02T13:40:14-05:00June 2, 2021|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

By Olivia Wein (National Consumer Law Center) and Cheryl Leanza (United Church of Christ) Cross-posted with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the United Church of Christ, OC Inc. More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is certain: Our lives have forever changed — and daily reliance on digital [...]

A New Customer Bill of Rights: Affordable Utility Services

2021-05-03T13:55:04-05:00May 3, 2021|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

By Karen Lusson, National Consumer Law Center staff attorney. Co-authored with Deron Lovaas and Larry Levine of the NRDC.    Utility services--electricity, heat, water, sanitation, telecommunications, and internet access--are essential to health, safety, and daily life. The vital need for uninterrupted utility service was evident before the coronavirus pandemic, but the COVID-19 public health emergency [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]