A pandemic and surging summer heat leave thousands struggling to pay utility bills

Protesters in Cleveland gathered for a caravan for energy justice on April 29, 2020

"While mandatory and voluntary moratoriums aim to prevent waves of shut-offs during the pandemic, many states do not have debt forgiveness for mounting energy bills after the crisis passes. 

Not all utility companies have adequately communicated changes to their disconnection policies to customers, said Kaiba White, energy policy and outreach specialist for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. Her office reached out to Texas' electric cooperatives and municipal utilities and found that many companies' policies were often difficult to find or not publicly posted. 

'It's ultimately up to the customer to call,' said White, who found that often when people did call and ask about their utility company's policy on shut-offs, the initial response would be to pressure the customer to pay outstanding bills, instead of informing them about available relief."

-- Maddie Kornfeld, Inside Climate News

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