Utility Shutoff Moratorium Extended Until July in MA

 by Tom MarinoFebruary 27, 2021

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities [DPU] issued an order on Friday, February 26, extending the moratorium on residential gas, electric, and water utility shutoffs to July 1, 2021.

If DPU didn’t issue the extension, the moratorium would have ended in April.

The DPU Order prohibits investor-owned utility companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to residential customers for failure to pay a bill or a portion of a bill until July 1, 2021.

In August, the DPU issued an order adopting the Working Group’s recommendations for ending the shutoff moratorium and instituting important new ratepayer protection provisions, including:

  • Utility companies cannot assess late fees or discontinue service to customers enrolled in a payment plan.
  • To ensure customers have notice of any potential shutoff, the order requires companies to issue notices that inform customers about the payments due, the availability of payment plans, and the potential for shutoffs.
  • Companies must continue waiving late payment fees for small Commercial & Industrial customers for six months following the date that Governor Baker lifts the State of Emergency.

Companies must waive any previously required “good faith payments” when a customer re-enrolls in an arrearage management plan (AMP) after breaking from a prior AMP.

Residential customers experiencing financial hardship may also be eligible for additional assistance, such as financial assistance programs, if they self-certify to their utility company that there is a seriously ill individual living in the household, a child in the household under 12 months of age in the household, or that all adults in the home are age 65 or older and a minor child resides in the home.

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