CLEVELAND — Despite rising COVID-19 cases in Cleveland, the city of Cleveland announced it will resume disconnections of utilities starting Dec. 1.
The city announced the decision in a press release.
Beginning on Dec. 1, 2020, the City of Cleveland Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU) will lift the moratorium on shut-offs and reconnections. DPU will resume the regular process for collections and disconnection of service for delinquent water and/or electric accounts.
The City of Cleveland suspended utility disconnections for non-payment on March 13 as part of Mayor Jackson’s Proclamation of Civil Emergency [clecityhall.com] to help customers during the coronavirus pandemic. The City’s suspension was in advance of Governor DeWine and the Ohio EPA’s order on March 31 [epa.state.oh.us] and has continued well beyond the state order, which ended on July 1, 2020.
The decision to resume disconnections has been done with great concern and awareness of the financial difficulties and other vulnerabilities many of our customers are facing due to the pandemic.
Financial relief tools are in place to assist customers in need. In addition to our current affordability programs, we are offering extended payment plan options as well as coordinating with outside agencies to refer customers for additional services.
We continue to diligently notify customers with past due accounts, so they receive plenty of notice in addition to the regular multi-notice procedures.
It is always our goal to keep customers connected to utility service. We encourage customers who need assistance to contact Cleveland Water at (216) 664-3130 or Cleveland Public Power at (216) 664-4600 to discuss their payment options as soon as possible.
Anita Gardner with the Concerned Citizens Community Council said she is shocked by the decision.
“It’s bad enough that they can’t afford their rent and they have the landlord over their head and now you are going to shut off their lights and their gas. You know what you just keep pushing people to the brink,” she said.