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Update on winter moratorium on heat/utility terminations for low income households

The following communication is from our colleague, Charlie Harak, at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC):
On February 27, NCLC asked the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to extend the end-date of the winter moratorium to April 15; by statute, the moratorium would otherwise end on March 15.   The DPU responded to NCLC’s request promptly, sending letters to the companies on March 2 asking that they extend the moratorium.  Columbia Gas (formerly Bay state Gas) and New England Gas have already replied “yes.”  We can assume that all of the other regulated utilities will agree as well.   In past years, all of the investor-owned utilities have agreed to similar requests from the DPU.  NCLC has not yet been able to determine if the DPU sent the same letter to our states 30+ municipal utilities.

For those on our Massachusetts list:  please keep your eyes open for any utility terminations that occur after March 15.  Please contact me (Charlie Harak, ) if you are aware of any companies doing so.  HOWEVER, BEFORE CONTACTING ME, PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT THE UTILITY WAS AWARE THAT YOUR CLIENT IS LOW-INCOME!  Utilities ARE allowed to terminate non-low-income customers, and the customer has the obligation to inform the company about his or her low-income status.

REMEMBER:  Recipients of SNAP, TAFDC, SSI, Vets Services, MassHealth and other needs-based programs ARE low-income, and DTA does inform utility companies of SNAP and cash status directly.
NEXT Food SNAP Coalition Meeting:  Tuesday, March 27, 2012