|RICHMOND (March 13, 2020)—Attorney General Mark R. Herring today filed an emergency petition with the State Corporation Commission seeking an order to prevent utility disconnections for non-payment and suspend late charges for as long as Virginia remains in a state of emergency.
“We’re in an emergency here, and utilities shouldn’t be able to cut off Virginians’ water, power, and gas at the same time we’re asking them to stay home to prevent the spread of this virus,” said Attorney General Herring. “A temporary suspension of disconnections is especially important for hourly wage earners who are most likely to lose income as a result of business closures and social distancing efforts. I hope we can get an order quickly to give Virginians some peace of mind during this disruptive time.”
Attorney General Herring’s petition explains that “for Virginians who must stay home – either in an attempt to self-quarantine, as directed by an employer, or to care for a sick family member – it is imperative that all utility services continue uninterrupted. Without uninterrupted access to ‘power, heat, light, [and] water’ it would be virtually impossible for Virginians to remain in their homes to protect public health and safety.”
The petition also makes clear that “the temporary suspension of service disconnections for reason of non-payment is needed to minimize adverse impact on the public health and safety by maintaining normal service to all customers during the emergency period,” and that “the continued provision of utility service – including electricity, natural gas, and water – will be essential to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19.”