March 13, 2020

Harris Calls on Water, Electricity, Telecom Companies to Cease Shutoffs During Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Friday sent a letter to the trade associations for the water, electricity, and telecommunications industries, urging them to immediately suspend the practice of shutting off services to customers for reasons of nonpayment during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Clean water is a human right and necessary for hand washing; electricity is vital as public health officials encourage people to stay at home; and access to telecommunications is a critical lifeline for individuals to remain informed and continue to participate in our economy and society as this crisis evolves. In just my state of California, 40 million people will be impacted in some way, whether through themselves or a family member falling ill, work and school closings, travel disruptions, or other unforeseen complications,” Harris wrote.

Harris continued, “Given the unprecedented challenges people are facing as well as the need for people to access critical services from home in order to stem this crisis, shutting off power, water, or communications services right now just because someone missed a payment is potentially dangerous. It could push individuals to not follow recommended guidelines from public health professionals and further exacerbate this crisis, which would endanger public safety.”

Harris is calling on companies to ensure immediate and uninterrupted services for customers as the coronavirus spreads to communities across the country.

Harris requested a response to her letter no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Text of the letter can be found here.