Essential Businesses & Utility Company no Shut-Off Orders
Aside from supermarkets and drug stores, a lot of confusion persists over exactly what business are allowed to operate in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 period. To allay this confusion, here is a list of Massachusetts Businesses Deemed “Essential Businesses” During COVID-19: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services
Further, the Baker-Polito Administration has taken steps to temporarily prohibit Massachusetts utility shutoffs to protect customers During the COVID-19 suspension. Governor Baker’s Office has directed the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to prohibit investor-owned utility companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customers for failure to pay any portion of a bill until the current State of Emergency is lifted or the DPU issues other directives.
That action builds upon the DPU’s earlier, March 13 moratorium which requested that utility companies refrain from shutting off gas and electric service to residents across the Commonwealth during this emergency. The new order expanded the DPU’s March 13 “request” that utility companies refrain from shutoffs, and expanded the moratorium to include all utility customers, whether residential, commercial or small businesses, during this State of Emergency.
The Governor’s Order also prohibits investor-owned utility companies from sending customers any communications that threaten to shut off gas, electric, due to failure to pay any amount of a bill that companies have issued customers. Penalties of up to $1 million per violation can be assessed against utility companies that violate that order.
If you feel that a utility company is seeking immediate payment of electric. Gas, water or sewer charges during the COVID-19 outbreak, call our office. We’d be glad to speak with you, without any charge.