RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has asked the State Corporation Commission to extend the suspension of utility disconnections for nonpayment through the duration of the coronavirus state of emergency.
In March, the SCC suspended the disconnection of utilities for nonpayment for 60 days. This means that utility companies cannot disconnect services for Virginians who have not paid their bills until mid-May. Late fees on utility bills have also been waived.
Herring has asked the SCC to extend the existing utility disconnection suspension until June 10, which is the current end date for the COVID-19 “Stay At Home” Order issued by Gov. Ralph Northam.
Herring is also asking the SCC to reconnect utility services for customers who were disconnected for non-payment prior to the March suspension order, continue to suspend late fees, and waive requirements that make it more difficult for utilities to be reconnected.
The suspension of utility disconnections is meant to keep Virginians safe, as thousands grapple with unemployment due to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Although utility disconnections have been suspended for a time, Virginians will eventually have to pay for the gas, electricity, and water used during the COVID-19 crisis. Herring encourages Virginians to pay their utility bills on time, if possible.
“As we continue to grapple with the health and financial crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that this extension is needed to make sure that all Virginians have access to water, power and gas during the entirety of the state of emergency,” Herring said in a news release. “This extension is especially important for hourly wage earners and those who work in the service industry who have been particularly affected by social distancing efforts and stay at home orders. I hope the SCC will continue to give Virginians some peace of mind during this time while we continue to ask them to stay home to prevent further spread of this virus.”