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SCC extends ban on utility service disconnections

Posted at 4:51 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 16:52:42-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is extending a suspension on utility service disconnections originally ordered to end on May 15.

The order, which prohibits disconnections of electricity, gas, water and sewer utility services during the coronavirus public health emergency, has been extended through June 14, 2020.

Although extending the ban through June 14, the Commission cautions that customers still owe payment for utility services received.

“If such bills are never paid, the costs of these unpaid bills (accounts uncollectible) … do not disappear; they are shifted to other customers, who themselves may be struggling to make ends meet in the economic catastrophe caused by the pandemic," the SCC wrote.

The Commission also noted that its March 16 order and the extension are intended “to protect those Virginia residential and business customers who, through no fault of their own, become temporarily unable to access sufficient cash to pay their utility bills on a timely basis due to the severe economic consequences” of the pandemic.

The orders are not retroactive to earlier unpaid bills that were not caused by the COVID-19 health crisis. However, some companies have voluntarily chosen to reconnect past customers.