Alabama Power, Alabama PSC Should Protect Consumers During COVID-19
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (March 15, 2020) — Gasp and Energy Alabama are calling on Alabama Power to immediately suspend shutoffs and late fees through at least May 1, 2020 for customers who find themselves unable to pay their electric bills during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Gasp and Energy Alabama believe that if Alabama Power will not act, the Alabama Public Service Commission has a duty to all Alabamians to act immediately. Further, the Alabama Public Service Commission should issue an order suspending shutoffs for all regulated electric, gas, and water utilities.
“Alabama is one of the poorest and least healthy states in the U.S., and Alabama Power customers pay some of the highest electricity bills in the nation,” said Michael Hansen, executive director of Gasp. “That’s a recipe for disaster. Those most at-risk will only be made more vulnerable if they lose electricity during this national crisis. Alabama Power has a moral responsibility to suspend cutoffs and late fees for all customers.”
Governor Kay Ivey declared a State of Emergency on Friday, March 13 after the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the State of Alabama.
Georgia Power, owned by the same parent company as Alabama Power, announced it would suspend residential shutoffs for thirty days, beginning on March 14. On March 15, the Mississippi Public Service Commission issued an emergency order on suspending all shutoffs for electric, gas, water, and sewer for sixty days.
“Alabama Power should have acted days ago to protect consumers, especially as its sister company Georgia Power has already acted,” said Daniel Tait, Chief Operating Officer of Energy Alabama. “That advocacy organizations like Energy Alabama and Gasp have to force the company to do the right thing is a failure of leadership at the highest level.”
Utilities across the country are suspending shutoffs for late payment during the COVID-19, as reported by the Energy and Policy Institute.
About Energy Alabama
Energy Alabama is a nonprofit organization accelerating Alabama’s transition to sustainable energy. We accomplish our mission by educating at all levels, informing smart energy policy, building the next-generation workforce, and providing technical assistance to deploy more sustainable energy. We believe in sustainable energy for all. energyalabama.org
Gasp is a nonprofit health advocacy organization based in Birmingham, Ala. Our mission is to advance healthy air and environmental justice in the greater-Birmingham area through education, advocacy, and collaboration. We strive to reduce exposure to air pollution, educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality, and encourage community leaders to serve as role models by advocating for clean air and clean energy. gaspgroup.org