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Utilities In Kentucky Urged To Halt Disconnections Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

  All utilities regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission are being ordered to temporarily suspend disconnections for non-payment to provide some relief to customers affected by the coronavirus. 

Utilities are also being told to suspend late payment fees for at least 30 days.  The order states that disconnections pose a risk of COVID-19 transmission to utility employees and are a waste of utility resources at a time when there is a "pressing need to ensure continuity, and thus adequacy, of service."

Bowling Green Municipal Utilities isn’t under the jurisdiction of the PSC, but is voluntarily halting disconnections through the end of the month, although late fees will still accrue.  Christie Twyman, Customer Relations and Communications Manager at BGMU, says its decision is mostly aimed at relieving financial stress.

"It’s more to help the customers, should they be home from work taking care of a child or laid off, heaven forbid," Twyman said. "It’s really for the financial burden.”

BGMU supplies electric, water, and high-speed commercial fiber to more than 50,000 customers in the Bowling Green area. 

Warren Rural Electric Cooperative, Atmos Energy, Louisville Gas and Electric, and Owensboro Municipal Utilities are a few of the other utilities halting disconnections over non-payment either voluntarily, or by mandate.

Many of the utilities are also closing their offices to in-person customers or limiting business hours.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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