March 30, 2020

Harris, Colleagues Push for a Stop to Electric and Gas Disconnections, Reconnection Fees, Late Fees, and Rate Hikes During Coronavirus Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Monday joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in introducing a resolution calling for states and utilities to issue a moratorium on gas and electric service disconnections, late fees, reconnection fees, rate hikes, and other penalties for all consumers as a result of the ongoing national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Harris called on trade associations for the water, electricity, and telecommunications industries to halt shutting off services to customers during the coronavirus pandemic. Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order in California establishing a moratorium on evictions for renters affected by the coronavirus crisis.   

“Households across the country are struggling to pay the bills during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Harris. “It is vital everyone does their part to make sure no one gets punished for missing electric and gas payments. We must do everything we can to ease the pain in this moment.”

A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.

In it, the Senators outline the sense of Congress that as a result of the coronavirus disaster, states and gas and electric utilities should take action to ensure that:

(1)   No electric or natural gas service to a consumer is terminated;

(2)   Reasonable efforts are made to safely reconnect electric and natural gas consumers that have lost service;

(3)   No electric or natural gas consumer is charged for reconnection services;

(4)   Late fees and other penalties are waived for electric and natural gas consumers; and

(5)   No increases in cost-of-service to electric and natural gas consumers.