Tallahassee Commission: print the disconnection date & relief options on utility bills

Tallahassee Commission: print the disconnection date & relief options on utility bills

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Shelby Green started this petition to Tallahassee City Commission and

Our neighbors, almost 8,000 of them, are behind on their utility bill. Some are forgoing family reunions; picking up extra shifts; or sitting without AC, just to keep their lights on. Sign this petition to ask our City of Tallahassee Mayor and Commissioners to improve their communications with residents at risk of disconnection. The action needed is a simple one: modify utility bills to include what day disconnection will occur, and include information about debt relief options and resources that are available to residents.

At the onset of the pandemic, countless businesses either closed or laid-off workers to stay afloat. Millions were struggling to afford basic necessities, causing a national moratorium on rent. To provide a wave of relief, our City Commission paused utility disconnections, ensuring anyone who couldn't afford to pay their utility bill still had access to power.

On April 26th, that relief ended. Our City Commission started disconnecting utility customers, without a public notice or press conference. Since then, over 4,000 homes have been disconnected. 

While the City may be eager to return to normal, many do not have that same luxury. Residents with past-due utility accounts are not receiving a proper warning or options for financial help. On past due utility bills, residents are no longer provided the day they will be disconnected. This practice was discontinued, and people are having their power cut off with no prior warning. There is no list of financial options, either. The City advises customers that an "immediate payment is required to avoid interruption of service" and to “call to discuss available options".

One customer said the City "turned off [the] power for a 'past due' charge that had been paid for a month prior. They made no attempt to communicate via phone, email or physical mail that there was a past due [amount] and they would cut the power. The invoice / bill does NOT mention any service cut-off date for a past due charge.”

No one should be blindsided by a utility disconnection, especially when programs like Our Florida, the City's Project Share, and the Capital Area Community Action Agency’s LIHEAP are actively accepting applications and distributing funds. 

The City has to do better in protecting its most vulnerable residents, and they can do so by making these simple changes to their monthly utility bills.

This Wednesday, July 7th, is the last City Commission meeting until September. Now is our chance to prevent further, needless disconnections. Please join me in signing this petition and encouraging our Mayor and City Commissioners to step up their efforts in communicating how residents can keep their power and water running.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!