Washington (March 30, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today was joined by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in introducing a bill that sets the sense of Congress that states and utilities should issue a moratorium on gas and electric service disconnections, late fees, reconnection fees, rate hikes, and other penalties for all consumers as a result of the ongoing national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. States have the primary authority to govern electric and gas rates, and many have still not ordered utilities to take this vital action, leaving millions vulnerable during the ongoing economic crisis.
“As bills come due, unemployment rates spike, and businesses shutter in Massachusetts and across the country, families are struggling to keep on their electricity, heat, stoves, and hot water,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “This is a national life-or-death emergency, and every single state and utility must take action now to keep people healthy at home and keep their lights on.”
A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.
In it, the Senators outline the sense of Congress that as a result of the coronavirus disaster, states and gas and electric utilities should take action to ensure that:
(1) No electric or natural gas service to a consumer is terminated;
(2) Reasonable efforts are made to safely reconnect electric and natural gas consumers that have lost service;
(3) No electric or natural gas consumer is charged for reconnection services;
(4) Late fees and other penalties are waived for electric and natural gas consumers; and
(5) No increases in cost-of-service to electric and natural gas consumers.