Soaring Power Shut-offs In Connecticut Prompt Searching Discussion

Connecticut Public Radio
November 3, 2019

…  low uptake for hardship programs in the state …

“The companies have articulated that they are absolutely not going to advertise those programs,” said Bonnie Roswig of the Center for Children’s Advocacy.

She said “coding” customers for hardship should mean that people pay no more than $75 a month on their electric bills and that they cannot be shut off. But it’s often not the first option offered when a customer contacts the company.

“We have to do a better job — people just don’t know about it,” she said, urging the regulators to hold companies accountable to train their call center staff to better address the issue.

Roswig spoke of her clients who often will go a whole summer without lights, refrigeration or air conditioning simply to save money to pay their arrears and get reconnected as the cold weather returns.

“People are without lights and without heat for many, many months of the year,” she said, noting that this impacts other issues, like food insecurity, success in school for children and keeping a roof over one’s head. “If you don’t have utilities, you can be evicted from where you live.”

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