Access to water and electricity are fundamental for people’s physical and mental health, especially during a pandemic when many families are required to stay at home. Not only do water and electricity help people stay healthy and safe, but preventing utility shutoffs can actually slow the spread of Covid-19!
Despite the public health crisis, many southern utilities are continuing to shut off people’s utilities even as Covid cases are increasing and millions of families are struggling to pay their bills. Black and Brown households are six to 15 times more likely than their white counterparts to have had their utilities disconnected during the pandemic, exacerbating inequalities.
In response, people across the south are demanding that state leaders keep utilities on during the crisis for all people, regardless of their ability to pay. Keep reading to learn about shutoff policies in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and how you can protect families from utility shutoffs in the months ahead.
MAP DETAILS: Electric utility service areas are shown in red if they are currently shutting off customers’ power for non-payment or in green if there are voluntary utility actions or state policies that prevent them from shutting off power during the Covid crisis.
Note: we are currently only tracking Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia utilities, but if your organization would be interested in tracking policies in other southern states, we would love to include you in the Energy Democracy Y’all partnership and add your state’s utilities to the map!
Tell Us YOUR Covid Story!
If you have lost or are in danger of losing water, electric or gas services because your utility is still doing shutoffs, help us by sharing your story. Your experience can help us demonstrate to elected officials how the pandemic and economic crisis are impacting these critical services and work to keep the power and water on for everyone.
>> TAKE ACTION
Tell Gov. Cooper to reinstate the utility shutoffs moratorium.
Electric, gas and water utilities should not be shutting off critical services for customers during the Covid crisis, especially as winter utility bills are increasing.
Struggling to afford your bills or have utility bill debt due to the pandemic? Contact your local utility and/or Department of Social Services to ask about financial assistance that may be available to you.
>> TAKE ACTION
Tell President-elect Biden to issue an executive order for TVA
Tennessee Valley Authority, which regulates our local power companies, should mandate a moratorium on electricity shutoffs in the Tennessee Valley.
>> TAKE ACTION
Ask Virginia officials to strengthen shutoff protections
Thank Governor Northam for his work to stop utility shutoffs so far, and ask him to require all utilities to adhere to the shutoff moratorium for the duration of the state of emergency. Virginia should not allow exemptions to the moratorium for ANY utility for ANY reason!
If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, ask your utility about setting up your Emergency Debt Repayment Plan.
Check to see when CARES Act funds will be available, and whether your utility can apply that money directly to reduce your debt.