Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Fresh Energy staff began investing time and resources to recommend and advocate for ways to ease some of the uncertainty and economic burden being borne by some renters and homeowners during this crisis. We’re pleased to share an update from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission! As Fresh Energy and partners recommended in March, the Commission is requiring all regulated utilities to:
- suspend disconnections for residential customers;
- suspend negative credit reporting for residential customers;
- and waive connection, service deposit, and late fees, interest, and penalties for residential customers for the duration of the peacetime emergency due to COVID-19.
The Commission also ordered utilities to provide information about COVID-19 to their customers in the languages represented in their service areas. Fresh Energy pushed hard on all of these policy recommendations, and we were glad that the Public Utilities Commission took them to heart.
The Commission also ordered utilities to file robust reports on customer impacts including reconnections, disconnections, payment plan arrangements, and more on an ongoing basis. Lots of credit and a big thank you goes to Energy CENTS Coalition, Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota (CUB), Legal Services Advocacy Project, and Minnesota Community Action Partnership (MinnCAP) for all of their work digging into the data and recommending critical improvements, which received consensus support!