Local victory on utility shut offs

CLEVELAND -- Ohio's water shut off moratorium ended July 10, putting thousands of Ohioans at risk of losing access to their water.

In recognition of the vital role that access to water and power plays in fighting this pandemic and keeping our community healthy, the City of Cleveland has announced that the shutoff moratorium for Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Water will last through the end of the city's State of Emergency, or July 31. We're encouraged that the city has committed to preserving these protections through the declared emergency, but the city must go further to ensure that residents are able to stay connected to power and water for the length of the pandemic.

Without water, how will residents wash their hands to stay healthy? Without power, how will our vulnerable neighbors power lifesaving medical equipment or stay cool during these heatwaves? Without electricity, how will our children use the internet to attend school in the fall?

Access to utilities is a basic human right, and our leaders must treat it as such. It's never OK to be without access to utilities. We need guaranteed statewide access for utilities for the length of the pandemic and beyond.