Advocates Concerned About Proposed Changes To Utility Shut-Off Rules In RI

Dec 13, 2013

Advocates for the poor are raising concerns about proposed changes in Rhode Island’s utility shut-off rules.

For years, Rhode Island law has forbidden utility shutoffs from November 1st through April 15th. Under new rules being considered by the state Public Utilities Commission, that window would be closed April 1st and people would have earn less to be protected.

Debbie Clark of the George Wiley Center, a non-profit that advocates for the poor, said an April 1st moratorium shutoff is far too early for chilly New England.

"It is a problem because statistically you look at what the average temperature is for the month of April, it is still too cold. There’s medical facts and figures that say that the temperature in April still warrants medical problems because of the fact that the temperature is still too cold," said Clark.

The PUC says it wants to raise the income guidelines for moratorium protection  to bring them into line with a federal heating assistance program.  And the April 1st end date is consistent with other New England states.

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