Cicilline Asking RIPUC to Extend Moratorium on Utility Terminations

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

PAWTUCKET – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) wrote to Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Chairperson Margaret Curran today asking that the PUC extend a moratorium on utility terminations that is slated to expire tomorrow.

 

“I would like to take this opportunity express my support for the PUC extending this moratorium, which would provide much needed assistance to low- and middle-income families who continue to deal with the economic impact of the ongoing health crisis,” Cicilline wrote. “During this incredibly difficult time, access to basic utilities, such as electricity, water, and wastewater allows Rhode Island households to function, and provides a needed public health benefit.  Families rely on access to electricity and the internet in order to work from home, and to ensure their children are able to keep up with schoolwork through digital learning.  Access to clean water allows families to continue to wash their hands and disinfect surfaces in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  For many families, maintaining access to utilities could mean the difference between getting by in this difficult time and financial ruin.”

 

The full text of Cicilline’s letter to Chairperson Curran is embedded below.

 

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May 5, 2020

 

The Honorable Margaret Curran

Chairperson

Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

89 Jefferson Boulevard

Warwick, RI 02888

 

Dear Chairperson Curran:

 

I write in regard to the current moratorium on utility terminations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  It is my understanding that the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will be considering a potential extension of that moratorium on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  I would like to take this opportunity express my support for the PUC extending this moratorium, which would provide much needed assistance to low- and middle-income families who continue to deal with the economic impact of the ongoing health crisis.

 

During this incredibly difficult time, access to basic utilities, such as electricity, water, and wastewater allows Rhode Island households to function, and provides a needed public health benefit.  Families rely on access to electricity and the internet in order to work from home, and to ensure their children are able to keep up with schoolwork through digital learning.  Access to clean water allows families to continue to wash their hands and disinfect surfaces in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  For many families, maintaining access to utilities could mean the difference between getting by in this difficult time and financial ruin.

 

Extending the shutoff moratorium also provides PUC with the opportunity to work with utility companies on ways to help families make future payments without cutting off their access in the short term.  In the past, PUC and utilities like National Grid have worked together with stakeholders to mitigate the impacts of rate increases through programs such as the Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP).  An extension of the shutoff moratorium will allow PUC to provide guidance to utilities on how to implement plans to allow families to make payments based on income, which may also include re-establishment of PIPP, or other similar programs.

 

I thank you for your attention to this matter, and for your work on behalf of Rhode Island families.  If I, or my office, can be of any assistance, please to not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

David N. Cicilline

Member of Congress

 

CC:

 

The Honorable Marion Gold, Commissioner, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

The Honorable Abigail Anthony, Commissioner, Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

 

 

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