Governor’s New Order Prohibits Municipal Utility Cutoffs and Late Fees
Governor Andy Beshear issued a new Executive Order, 2020-323 on May 8, 2020. This executive order, in part, directs all utilities to cease cutoffs for nonpayment and mandates waiver of all late fees for the duration of the state of emergency. Municipal utilities had voluntarily ceased cutoffs in recognition that utilities are necessary to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) handwashing and hygiene recommendations to combat the spread of COVID-19. With this executive order, Governor Beshear now requires municipal utilities to retroactively waive late fees back to March 6, 2020, when he first declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Municipal utilities are encouraged to continue working with customers to identify local charities, churches, veterans organizations, and other nonprofits that offer assistance for people struggling to pay. KLC developed a model notice that encourages customers struggling to pay their bills to look for alternatives to pay down their accumulating balances.
Related to this issue, Governor Beshear issued a scam alert on May 11 regarding utility-related scams popping up in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Do not send payment to scammers threatening to cut off your electricity or other utilities.” This warning from Gov. Beshear comes after members of Kentucky electric co-ops reported receiving calls from someone claiming to work for the local utility and threatening to disconnect their service without immediate payment.
“The Kentucky Public Service Commission issued an order that halts disconnections for non-payment and fees for late payments. Anyone threatening to cut off your electricity during the COVID-19 emergency is likely a scammer,” said Gov. Beshear. Read the scam alert warning here.
For more information on any of this information, please contact the KLC Department of Municipal Law.