Pressing Pause on Utility Shutoffs
How Virginia Could Save Lives by Establishing Shutoff Policies for High-Risk Periods

A mature hispanic woman is sitting at the dining table using her tablet to sort her household bills online.She is looking glum as she struggles to sort the family finances. She is holding an invoice. The tablet is surrounded by various bills and debt letters.

This report, released on Nov. 14, 2022, details how Virginia’s current shutoff policies for electric, gas, and water utilities do not adequately protect vulnerable Virginians from being disconnected from these essential services for nonpayment, even during public health emergencies, extreme weather events (including temperature highs and lows), or in other life-threatening situations when debts to their utility companies trigger a disconnection.

The policies do not meet widely accepted and recommended industry best practices, even in critical life-or-death situations.

“Pressing Pause on Utility Shutoffs” also describes how low-income households and Black and Brown customers are more likely to be disconnected from their utilities for nonpayment, and seniors, infants, and people with serious medical conditions or disabilities face especially serious risks from utility shutoffs.


Read the full report


This report was developed by Appalachian Voices and published in November 2022.

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