Tracking COVID-19 water shutoff moratoriums
Wednesday 3 November 2020
Changes since September 2020 Update
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-103 on October 7, 2020, which extended the state of emergency to December 31, 2020.
Governor Andy Beshear issued Executive Order 2020-881 on October 19, 2020, which suspended disconnections by utilities for non-payment through November 6, 2020. This order also requires utilities to waive the assessment of late payment fees for residential customers through December 31, 2020.
On September 15, Maine Public Utilities Commission issued a press release ordering the emergency moratorium on utility disconnections to end on November 1, 2020. Utilities will resume normal disconnection activities but must provide 30 days notice prior to sending the 14-day disconnection notice before shutting off service. The order requires utilities to offer reasonable payment arrangements to customers who have accrued arrears during the disconnection moratorium. Utilities also must waive new late-payment charges when a customer enters a payment arrangement and continue the waiver as long as the customer complies with the arrangement.
Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-144 extended the moratorium on water shutoffs through December 31, 2020. However, a ruling issued by the Michigan Supreme Court on October 2, 2020 invalidated all of the governor’s emergency executive orders issued in response to the pandemic. The court’s order went into effect on October 12, 2020.
On October 15, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 190 extending the utility shutoff moratorium through at least March 15, 2021. Utilities cannot charge late fees or reconnection fees. The Order also requires utilities to reconnect all residential services that were disconnected after social distancing measures went into effect on March 16. Furthermore, the Governor and legislature announced that $15 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will support low income households in paying off utility arrearages.
In Executive Order 202.67 issued on October 4, 2020, Governor Cuomo extended the state of emergency end date changed to November 3. Legislation still extends the moratorium for 180 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted or expires.
On October 14, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation that prohibited utilities from disconnecting, refusing to reconnect, and charging late fees until December 31 or when the state of emergency ends, whichever comes first.
The Public Service Commission voted on September 17 to permit disconnections on November 1 to water utilities that submitted disconnection plans by October 9.
Governor Scott issued Addendum 6 to Amended and Restated Executive Order 01-20 on October 15, 2020, extending the state of emergency and the moratorium on water and sewer service disconnections through November 15, 2020. Legislation prohibits municipalities from disconnecting water or sewer services during a declared state of emergency.
*With special thanks to our Fall 2020 Legal Interns, Carly Brody, a law student at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, and Marissa Sterling, a law student at Georgetown University Law School.