Don't weaken Utility Termination Protections!

This petition made change with 204 supporters!

The RI PUC has put on their agenda for Dec. 20th, 2013 a vote on changes to their rules regarding utility termination. These dramatic changes propose weakening the rules that have offered people important protections from having their heat and electricity shut off. Some of the proposed changes include weakening protection for the disabled and seniors, narrowing income eligibility levels, removing protection for the unemployed, and shortening protection in the winter time. They are proposing gutting the rules by cutting 55 pages of crucial rules down to 8 pages of diluted protections. Every year 20-30,000 Rhode Island households experience the loss of utility service due to termination, numbers that are already too high and would increase if the proposed rule changes are accepted.

We need to speak out today to demand that the RI PUC not vote on any rule changes until they have held hearings across the state and in the evening so working families may attend. So far they have only held one hearing at their Warwick location during the working hours of the day and none of the rules have been translated into any language other than English. This is the first time in over a decade that they are attempting to make substantial changes to these rules. Last time, they held hearings in other parts of the state, and this time we request more hearings to assure a democratic process where people who are most affected can participate. Voting to accept the proposed rules would put thousands of seniors, disabled people, people with serious medical conditions, immigrants, children and low-income families at increased risk of being shut-off.   

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