Utility Companies Push For Removal of Pandemic Consumer Protection Measures

What’s happening?

Electric utility companies in Maryland asked state regulators to roll back many consumer protections enacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kristen Mosbrucker reports for WYPR. The companies authored a letter in June detailing lost revenue from past due electric bills and the end of Covid-19 relief money as support for their request, but consumer advocates argue that residents are still grappling with the economic consequences of the pandemic and high inflation rates. 

What are some of these protections? 

Early on in the pandemic, utility companies were not permitted to shut off electrical services for those in default until October 2020 and were required to enter into two-year payment plans with low-income residents. Starting in August 2020, companies were also required to give 45 days notice before terminating service.

Since then, state regulators have lessened some protections, including shortening the payment plan period from two years to one and the notice window from 45 days to 30 days. 

Anything else I should know? 

The Maryland Public Service Commission will host a public hearing on Nov. 10 to decide whether the protections should continue. You can keep track of the Maryland PSC website for details of the public hearing when they become available.  

You can read more here. 

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