Despite the public health crisis, many southern utilities are continuing to shut off people’s utilities even while Covid remains a public health issue and millions of families struggle to pay their bills. Black and Brown households are six to 15 times more likely than their white counterparts to have had their utilities disconnected during the pandemic, exacerbating inequalities.
In response, people across the south are demanding that state leaders keep utilities on for all people, and address the problem of unaffordable bills. Keep reading to learn about shutoff policies in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and how you can protect families from utility shutoffs in the months ahead.
MAP DETAILS: Electric utility service areas are shown in red if they are currently shutting off customers’ power for non-payment or in green if there are voluntary utility actions or state policies that prevent them from shutting off power during the Covid crisis.
Note: we are currently only tracking Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia utilities, but if your organization would be interested in tracking policies in other southern states, we would love to include you in the Energy Democracy Y’all partnership and add your state’s utilities to the map!
Tell Us YOUR Covid Story!
If you have lost or are in danger of losing water, electric or gas services because your utility is still doing shutoffs, help us by sharing your story. Your experience can help us demonstrate to elected officials how the pandemic and economic crisis are impacting these critical services and work to keep the power and water on for everyone.
>> TAKE ACTION
Tell Gov. Cooper to reinstate the utility shutoffs moratorium.
Electric, gas and water utilities should not be shutting off critical services for customers during the Covid crisis, especially as winter utility bills are increasing.
Struggling to afford your bills or have utility bill debt due to the pandemic? Contact your local utility and/or Department of Social Services to ask about financial assistance that may be available to you.
>> TAKE ACTION
Tell President-elect Biden to issue an executive order for TVA
Tennessee Valley Authority, which regulates our local power companies, should mandate a moratorium on electricity shutoffs in the Tennessee Valley.
>> TAKE ACTION
Ask Virginia officials to use American Rescue Plan money to address utility debt
Thank Governor Northam for his work to address utility debts so far! The Governor’s budget directs $120M from Virginia’s allotment of American Rescue Plan funding to cover utility debts accrued during Covid. The General Assembly is considering his proposal during the August Special Session currently underway.
If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, ask your utility about setting up your Emergency Debt Repayment Plan — before the moratorium expires! At that point, utilities will no longer offer this option to customers.