COVID19 Bill Relief & Utility Disconnect Reform

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Sponsored by John Noel 

The Covid-19 virus has wreaked havoc on the state of Georgia, citizens, and Georgia’s economy. The Federal CARES ACT only allows jobless workers an extra $600 each week in unemployment benefits, and stimulus checks only give assistance for a minimal month’s wage to pay for rent, electricity, food & other basics of life, other measures are needed to help hard-hit Georgians in this time of need. 

We, the undersigned, believe that the state’s utility customers need additional relief to help endure this public health crisis and, for many families, a financial crisis as well. Customers shouldn’t have to choose between paying for food or electricity. Georgia’s regulated utilities have prospered during the state’s growth. We do not believe their regulated-monopoly status should make them immune from the effects of this virus.   

Instead, the Georgia Public Service Commission should immediately pass a motion to allow for billing reforms to stop turn-offs and late fees while this pandemic is underway to allow deferred bill payment arrangements over a year’s period, and offer assistance to unemployed persons in the form of a one-time, one-month, bill forgiveness.

Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the Georgia Public Service Commission to immediately take action requiring regulated utilities to:

a) cease residential disconnections for non-payment during the public health emergency: and;

b) set up deferred payment plans for customers facing hardship.

In addition, the Commission should establish a process for Georgia Power Company to forgive one month’s bill for those unemployed, subject to guidelines to be determined.

We ask that the Public Service Commission act on these issues with all due speed.


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