Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Water Utility Restoration Petition
Cleveland Public Power (CPP) and Cleveland Water have joined utilities across Ohio and the country in suspending shut-offs during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also committed to restoring power and water services to those who request it. These humane, necessary policies suggest the City knows we’re all in this together.
But CPP’s refusal to reconnect households until people call is insufficient. Hundreds or thousands of Cleveland households may still be without power or water. Many may not know they have a right to reconnection at all. CPP and Cleveland Water, valuable public entities with democratic missions to serve the public, must do more to ensure people they serve have electricity and water.
We therefore call on Mayor Frank Jackson and Public Utilities Director Robert Davis to ensure Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Water institute the following measures to help our community survive this public health crisis:
1. Commit to publish a plan as soon as possible that details how CPP and Cleveland Water will ensure, through improved outreach to ratepayers and judicious use of automatic reconnections, that by May 1 every household in Cleveland has electricity and water.
2. Commit to extend the suspension of shut-offs for a 60 day grace period after Ohio’s State of Emergency is over, and enroll each household struggling to pay bills in payment plans. Once the outbreak begins to subside, families will experience difficulty getting back on their feet. To help customers, offer accessible payment plans to give customers a chance to pay back past due balance.
3. Commit to provide transparent data on shut-offs during and after the pandemic. Share via weekly public reports with data by Ward progress on ensuring each household in Cleveland has electricity and water.
No one must be without electricity or water during a pandemic. Each month last year, CPP shut off electricity to nearly 700 Cleveland households, according to CPP data End Poverty Now obtained through a public records request. That’s nearly one in ten CPP households. Shut-offs disproportionately affect low-income and black and brown households.
Between March 13, when Mayor Jackson promised no new shut-offs and a restoration of power for all without it, and March 26, CPP reported reconnecting electricity to just 59 households. During that time, Cleveland Water reconnected 507 households.
JOIN CLEVELAND END POVERTY NOW COALITION, SUNRISE MOVEMENT CLEVELAND, OHIO CITIZEN ACTION, OHIO CONSUMERS POWER ALLIANCE, NORTHERN OHIOANS FOR BUDGET LEGISLATION EQUALITY, INTERRELIGIOUS TASK FORCE ON CENTRAL AMERICA (IRTF CLEVELAND), CUYAHOGA COUNTY PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS, GREATER CLEVELAND IMMIGRANT SUPPORT NETWORK, ST. PAUL’S COMMUNITY CHURCH & OUTREACH, CLEVELAND JOBS WITH JUSTICE, AND NORTHEAST OHIO COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS IN CALLING ON CLEVELAND PUBLIC POWER AND CLEVELAND WATER TO RESTORE UTILITIES TO ALL HOUSEHOLDS.