Virginia Office of Attorney General

06/05/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2020 14:00

June 5, 2020 - Herring Again Requests Extension on Utility Disconnection Suspensions

RICHMOND (June 5, 2020) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring today has requested that the State Corporation Commission (SCC) extend its suspension on utility disconnections beyond the current end date of June 15th. In his filing with the SCC, Attorney General Herring notes that Governor Northam has extended his state of emergency indefinitely and explains that 'the existing moratorium should be extended to a point in the future after Virginia's economy has had an opportunity to resume, allowing impacted citizens an opportunity to regain some financial footing'.

'We are still in the middle of a deadly pandemic and a state of emergency where we continue to ask Virginians to stay home as much as possible to prevent further spread of COVID-19,' said Attorney General Herring. 'Unfortunately, as a result of business closures and layoffs due to social distancing measures, we have seen an unprecedented spike in unemployment in Virginia. Individuals, especially hourly wage earners, are struggling to make ends meet and we must continue to ensure that Virginians have access to heat, water, electricity and other utilities while we navigate our way through this public health emergency and tough financial times.'

Attorney General Herring also highlights several ways in which utilities can offset the impact of any COVID-19 related costs to consumers including:

  • Implementing emergency rate reductions
  • Sharing the financial burden with shareholders of any investor-owned utilities
  • The possibility of federally funded government loan programs for some utilities
  • The SCC tracking of COVID-19 related cost savings to the cost of service

In response to Attorney General Herring's request, the SCC extended their freeze on disconnections through at least June 10th when the state of emergency was currently scheduled to end. The SCC initially halted utility disconnections for non-payment in March following Attorney General Herring's emergency petition requesting the freeze.

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