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NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog


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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Hurray! The FCC Modernized Lifeline! What You Need to Know

2016-05-31T19:11:17-05:00May 31, 2016|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

The Federal Communication Commission voted to modernize the Lifeline program on March 31, 2016. This was a monumental achievement for many advocates around the country who have worked for years to modernize this critical low-income communications subsidy program.The Lifeline program was established in the mid-1980s to connect low-income households to emergency services, jobs, healthcare, teachers, [...]

Exelon Merger Yields $25 Million in Low-Income Benefits

2016-03-30T19:32:03-05:00March 30, 2016|Categories: NCLC Utilities & Telecom Blog|

On March 23, the D.C. Public Service Commission (DC PSC) gave final approval to the merger of Exelon Corporation and PHI Holdings (operating companies of Pepco, Delmarva, and Atlantic City Electric). The merger had previously been approved in the states of Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Given [...]