Gas and electric utilities will be allowed to disconnect non-residential customers with unpaid bills starting June 15, state regulators announced on Thursday.
“While there was never an ideal time for this to occur, this is an important transition as we return to our new normal,” Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Chair Marissa Gillett said in a written statement.
Utilities have been barred from disconnecting customers over unpaid bills since March 12, 2020, an early response to the economic toll of government-ordered pandemic protections.
PURA is still evaluating whether customer notices are sufficient for most utilities to start shutting off residential customers with unpaid bills, though the water company Aquarion has been authorized to disconnect customers since early February.
Through July 20, any utility customer, residential or otherwise, can apply with their utility for an extended COVID payment plan for their overdue bills. The plans require no down payment, can be for up to 24 months, and can waive late fees and interest.
Any customer enrolled in a COVID payment plan cannot be disconnected if they are current with their payments, even after shut offs resume.