Pryor calls on governor to extend utility disconnect moratorium
INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) sent a letter to Governor Eric Holcomb in response to his administration's decision to not extend the utility disconnect moratorium for Hoosiers. Additionally, she urged the governor to encourage our congressional delegation to replenish unemployment funds as a way to assist families in paying their bills.
The utility disconnect moratorium was implemented towards the beginning of the pandemic as a way to ensure that Hoosiers would not lose access to critical utilities if they were unable to pay their utility bills. The utility moratorium ended on August 14 and utility shut-offs began as soon as August 17.
“How do they expect a parent that is looking for a job to get ready for an interview with no utilities?” Pryor said. “Why would we rip this safety net away from Hoosiers when our state has only recently started to recover from the effects of the ongoing pandemic? This boils down to irresponsible and money-hungry leadership.”
View the text of Pryor's letter below.
Dear Governor Holcomb,
The IURC recently issued an order that does not extend the utilities disconnect moratorium; however, the Commission continued the suspension of customer fees such as late fees, reconnection fees, and deposits. While the suspension of fees lightens the financial burden on households, I believe that the disconnect moratorium should be reinstated as many are still unemployed and face disconnection of their utilities while they search for work. I urge you to consider reinstating the moratorium, in addition to pushing utility companies to establish affordable payment plans. It is also imperative that the Energy Assistance Program be more widely advertised to ratepayers. A collaboration between the state and utility companies to showcase the program would help immensely.
Lastly, please encourage our congressional delegation to replenish unemployment funds. Unemployment benefits will aid many in paying off debt that is accumulating while they are unemployed. We need solid funding before we can safely remove the safety nets provided by the fee suspension and disconnect moratorium. Those dollars will help the small businesses sustain themselves during this difficult time and allow people to keep their utilities on. Every effort was made to assist businesses in need and people need that same and continued assistance.
Please respond to this letter by Friday, September 4th. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Cherrish Pryor, Democratic Floor Leader
House District 94