Utilities required to boost protections for hardship customers after shut-offs double in parts of Connecticut
December 18, 2019
… despite a well-publicized run-up to what advocates are calling an extraordinarily responsive ruling by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, people who are eligible for long established hardship programs are still losing service without being told of their options by the utilities.
“And time is of the essence,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. He wrote in support of PURA’s decision to require the electric companies to adopt call center scripts that discuss hardship eligibility, explain the eligibility criteria in clear, single-page summaries and hold informational meetings, at night, in the hardest hit communities where the families who need the help most are located.
In her written comments, lawyer Bonnie Roswig of the Center for Children’s Advocacy in Hartford mentioned PURA’s focus on a series of Connecticut laws that already contain “very specific mandates relative to energy affordability and equity.”
“As the authority noted, hardship classification ‘is the gateway to a range of existing protections for eligible customers,’ ” she said.
Roswig said the new call center scripts, the concise, one-page descriptions of eligibility requirements and the community meetings would help create a bridge to a stressed, underserved community.