Advocates urge US Congress to halt electricity shut-offs

Utility-justice groups have also asked authorities to implement a waiver of late-payment fees and forgiveness of all bills for low-wealth households

More than 830 utility-justice, environmental, civil rights and labour groups have sent a letter to Congress calling for the next stimulus package responding to the coronavirus to include a moratorium on electricity, water and broadband utility shut-offs.

The advocacy groups say this period needs the implementation of a nationwide moratorium on all utility shut-offs, a waiver of late-payment fees and forgiveness of all bills for low-wealth households ‘for the duration of the emergency and an extended grace period’.

They also suggest: “Families should never be put in the impossible position where they must choose between food and sustaining access to their power and water services or between shelter and getting care for the coronavirus.”

The organisations also urge Congress to invest stimulus funds into long-term solutions, including funding for distributed clean energy systems and financing for percentage-of-income payment plans for municipal water systems, broadband and other utility services.

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