MADISON – On Friday, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to an occupied dwelling that has been disconnected.
This comes after Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order 72 declaring a public health emergency to enhance the state’s response to COVID-19.
Once the public health emergency is lifted, the utility may disconnect service to a property that was reconnected during this period without further notice if an appropriate payment or payment arrangement has not been established.
Wisconsin is currently under a winter moratorium on disconnections of water, electric, and natural gas service when used for home heating. The moratorium runs until April 15 and would typically allow for disconnections for nonpayment to resume. That moratorium would be extended for all service until the public health emergency is lifted. As water service is not commonly part of a home’s heating system, utilities can disconnect customers’ water service at any time of year if that customer has electric or gas heat.
According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adequate hand washing is critical toward preventing the spread of the disease. Among other things, the CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Governor Evers’ Executive Order 72 can be found here.