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Utilities cannot be shut off in Maryland

September 8th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Public Service Commission, in an emergency action, has prohibited residential utility service terminations through Nov. 15. Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order prohibiting service terminations and late fees was set to expire Sept. 1. The commission, which held hearings to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on customers and utility finances, took the step to protect as many customers as possible from having electric, gas or water service shut off and to provide a transition period that allows residential customers time to apply for assistance programs or make payment arrangements with their utility. “The commission’s goal is to help those customers struggling with household expenses during this difficult time and to ensure that their utility services remain connected,” said Jason M. Stanek, chair of the Maryland PSC. Utilities may not begin sending termination notices until Oct. 1, 45 days in advance of a termination. Customers who work out a payment plan or apply for energy assistance programs would not have service disconnected. Utilities must offer a minimum payment plan of 12 months, or 24 months for customers who receive assistance from the state’s Office of Home Energy Programs