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Texas Utilities Providers Barred From Power Or Water Shut-Offs

Courtesy: Chuck Smith / Red River Radio News

NO SHUT-OFFS - The Texas Public Utility Commission is barring providers from shutting off power and water services to residents who have lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus outbreak. Commissioner Arthur  D'Andrea said why the measure is critical.

"People have been ordered not to work by the government so I think it is the government's responsibility to make sure they at least have lights and water while they're sitting home under government order." 

The Texas Public Utility Commission voted last 

Credit Courtesy: Texas Public Utility Commission
Courtesy: Texas Public Utility Commission

Thursday  to temporarily ban shut-offs. Utility providers cannot disconnect power and water service for residents who have lost income because of the coronavirus outbrea.  Customers will still need to pay eventually though and can request deferred payment plans. The three-member commission also took steps to provide financial assistance to the utility companies through loans, reimbursements, and a fee that will help create a fund they can tap into if customers can't pay. Chairwoman DeAnn Walker explained why the plan was necessary. 

"Under the current circumstances that we're in where so many people are losing their jobs, if we had a moratorium on disconnects for the next 3 or 4 months, the market could not withstand that because they wouldn't have any money coming in."

More than 20 other states have temporarily banned  utility  shutoffs  including Louisiana, and Arkansas.

For more information on the order: Click: Texas Public Utility Commission Order

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.