MADISON -- The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) voted Thursday, June 11 to lift the temporary moratorium on utility disconnections during the coronavirus pandemic. If full payment or a payment plan cannot be agreed on, utility companies will be allowed to send disconnection notices starting July 15 with disconnections beginning July 25, a statement said.
The PSC strongly encourages customers behind on payments to arrange for a payment plan, or apply for assistance.
"As our state's businesses reopen and people return to work by following the steps in the Badger Bounce Back plan, we must calibrate consumer protections with costs to all utility customers. The longer deferral of payments are allowed, the more it will impact utility bills for everyone. Our actions today will ensure that those who are able to pay will continue do so, and those who are struggling can seek a payment plan or apply for energy assistance," said Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Chairperson of the PSC. "When working out payment plans with customers, I strongly encourage utilities to provide extra flexibility for those whose lives and employment continue to be severely impacted by this disease."
To avoid disconnection, customers who have fallen behind on payments are encouraged to first contact their utility to set up a payment plan. Contact information for the largest utilities in Wisconsin is listed below:
If you cannot reach an agreement with their utility, contact the PSC by calling 1-800-225-7729, or file a complaint on the PSC website.
For more information about utility disconnections and collections, see the PSC's fact sheet on residential customer rights.
If you are having difficulty paying your energy bill or receive a disconnection notice, you may be eligible for assistance from the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). To determine eligibility or find out where to apply for assistance, go to http://homeenergyplus.wi.gov/ or call 1-866-HEATWIS.
Customers who have a medical condition or are infected and sick with COVID-19 can still avoid disconnection with a temporary waiver.
Additionally, the PSC voted to allow utilities to commence charging late payment fees on debts incurred after July 15, refuse service for failure to provide documentation to prove identity and residency after July 25, and allow utilities to require a cash deposit as a condition of new service starting July 31.