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Virginia regulators extend moratorium on utility shut-offs

The State Corporation Commission issued the order Friday continuing a ban on service cut-offs through August 31.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s regulators have extended a moratorium on service disconnections for utility customers through the end of August due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The State Corporation Commission issued the order Friday continuing a ban on service cut-offs through August 31. Utilities must offer payment plans with no late fees to customers who cannot pay bills because of the pandemic.

The commission said it hoped lawmakers, who are set to convene a special session in August, can use the additional time to come up with a “truly sustainable solution” that ensures that the costs of such moratoriums aren’t unfairly shifted to other customers.

“The reality is that a moratorium on all service disconnections due to unpaid bills is not sustainable on an unlimited basis in the absence of programs to ensure that the growing costs of unpaid bills are not unfairly shifted to other customers," the Commission said.

The moratorium was initially imposed on March 16. After asking on May 26, if it should be extended, the commission received several hundred comments, including some from lawmakers.

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