September 16, 2020 — Issue Brief

Voluntary and mandatory moratoriums on utility shut-offs adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have expired or will soon expire in states across the country. Utility regulators and other policymakers must act now to require more flexible and generous utility bill payment practices in order to avoid a tidal wave of terminations of essential utility service. Even before the emergence of COVID-19, about one-third of the U.S. population faced serious difficulties in paying utility bills. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the problem with essential utility service today even less affordable for millions of utility customers. Arrearages of utility customers have skyrocketed amidst unprecedented job losses