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PSC Extends Utility Disconnection Ban

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WAOW Television
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The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 2 to 1 to ban all utility disconnections until next Spring.

The decision means utilities like water, electric and heat won't be able to be shut off until April 15.

This vote doesn't mean customers are off the hook. Matt Cullen, Spokesperson for Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), says the commission has made it clear that customers are responsible for the energy they use inside their home. However, it does mean a little break, until April 15.

PSC has had many meetings as it relates to utility disconnections. Matt Sweeney, Public and External Affairs Director for PSC said, "last time they (PSC) brought it (utility disconnections) up was in September and they said you know we’re just going to extend it to November 1, which is when that home heating moratorium statutorily kicks in so that essentially extended it out to April 15 for gas and electric.

That decision didn't include water so the commission asked water utility companies to submit disconnection plans for this month. They came back with plans to shut off service to over 9,000 customers in our area.

After the commission heard that, they said that doesn't make sense so they extended the disconnections to include water.

"During this pandemic, people need water to practice proper hygiene to wash hands, you need electricity and gas to keep the heat on and that’s all through a lens of public health," said Sweeney.

While the bills won't go away and you are catching a break, WPS says there are ways to reduce energy in your home.

Cullen says, "turn back your thermostats 7 to 10 degrees when you’re asleep or you might be away from your home, using weather stripping to seal up your home very tightly so that all of that heat that your furnace is generating stays inside your home."

Earlier this month Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers invested $15 million to help residents pay their heating bills.