Gov. Evers suspends utility rules due to COVID-19

MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) -- Governor Evers issued Emergency Order 11 Sunday, suspending utility rules in the state, allowing the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to increase consumer protections amid the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“It is critically important to give people flexibility during this emergency, when paychecks might be disrupted, to keep the lights and heat on and water flowing,” said Gov. Evers. “We’re making sure that folks don’t have to make the critical choice between keeping their utilities on and paying for other essentials.”

Regulated utilities in the state must now follow these rules: Stop utility disconnection for nonpayment for all customers, including commercial, industrial, and farm accounts. Previously this applied to residential accounts only. Stop assessing late fees to customer accounts. Stop the practice of requiring deposits from customers for reconnection of service. Allow deferred payment agreements for all customers who request them. Remove any administrative barriers for customers establishing or reestablishing utility service; and authorize water utilities to provide budget billing arrangements to customers. Electric and natural gas utilities are allowed to do this under current rules.

Previously, the PSC instructed utilities companies to stop disconnecting residences for nonpayment until the end of the public health emergency.