Congress under pressure as states lift electricity shut-off bans during coronavirus crisis

As disconnections loom, lawmakers are at odds about what to do next

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The decision by dozens of states to ban utilities from cutting off electricity as the novel coronavirus gripped the nation was a crucial lifeline to keeping the lights on for many Americans. Tens of millions of people lost their jobs and income while being asked to stay home to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Even in states without restrictions, many utilities promised to keep the power going for those unable to pay during the unprecedented health and economic crisis.

But those governors’ orders are starting to expire. Already, some utilities are resuming shut-offs for those behind on their bills during the sweltering summer months when air conditioning is most needed.

Calls from advocates and congressional Democrats are growing louder for the federal government to step in and issue a nationwide ban on shut-offs. They are eyeing another coronavirus relief package as their best chance to pass a moratorium, though negotiations for a new bill have collapsed."

--Dino Grandoni, Washington Post

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