WASHINGTON, DC - "More than 600 utility-justice, environmental, racial justice, labor, and faith groups delivered a letter today to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris urging their administration to halt utility shutoffs nationwide to protect public health.
The No Shutoffs Coalition, which has advocated for a federal moratorium on utility shutoffs since the COVID-19 crisis began, presented Biden with a draft Executive Order that would instruct the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use her authority under the Public Health Service Act to enact a national moratorium on residential disconnections of all water, electricity, broadband, heat and other necessary utility services for nonpayment.
The proposed order, which would also mandate safe restoration to previously disconnected homes, would last the full duration of the COVID national emergency and at least 12 months following its end.
'No American—regardless of the color of their skin, their zip code, or their income—should ever have to choose between heating their homes, keeping the lights on, the broadband they need to work or learn remotely, and putting food on the table. That’s especially true in the middle of a global pandemic, where public health experts are emphasizing how important it is that each of us stay home to stay safe,' said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. 'While many states and utility companies have stepped up to do the right thing, many families are still just a missed payment away from losing critical utilities in the middle of this public health and economic emergency. For all of us to get through this together we need to have a national disconnection moratorium that ensures that no family is left behind in the patchwork of policies.'"
- Press Release by: Food & Water Watch, Free Press Action, Center for Biological Diversity, Corporate Accountability, The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), and The Democracy Collaborative