Below is a list of statutes and basic information about what is required of individuals experiencing financial difficulties to ensure that their utilities stay on during the winter. Unfortunately, some utilities such as cable and internet do not generally offer assistance or protection for an inability pay, however, basic utilities such as water, heat, and electricity will offer protections in compliance with state law. If you have additional questions about these processes please contact us.
Connecticut law prevents the shutoff of utilities for inability to pay between November 1 and May 1. This regulation applies to individuals determined to be experiencing a financial hardship and that lack the resources to pay their current bill or arrears.
Connecticut law also prohibits termination of services for inability to pay at any time if doing so would create a life-threatening situation. So, for instance, if someone had a machine that aided their breathing that needed to be plugged into a wall outlet, their utility company may be unable to terminate their service for lack of payment. The regulations do have some exceptions, so it is very valuable to read the regulation. Additionally, more information is available from the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority.
Regulation requires temperatures of at least 64 degrees at night and 68 degrees during the day from November 15 to March 15. Temperatures should not exceed 78 degrees.
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Attorney General, in order to be protected from utility shutoff everyone in a household must be 65 years of age or older, or the household must be unable to pay their utility bill and must be able to demonstrate that someone in the home is seriously ill or that there is a child living in the home under 1 year old. If this generally describes your situation, request a financial hardship form from your utility company. You will usually have seven days to complete the form and return it.
However, even if a person’s situation does not meet these criteria, many utility companies will offer payment plans or discounts. This is especially true is you are currently receiving means-tested assistance such as SSI, Mass Health, or SNAP.