Kentucky’s moratorium on disconnecting utility customers during the pandemic has ended and some residents in Owensboro are among those being cut off from electricity, water and internet.
The statewide moratorium that suspended utility disconnections ended on Nov. 6
Owensboro Municipal Utilities reported that it is disconnecting an average of 48 customers a week due to unpaid bills.
OMU spokeswoman Sonya Dixon said that average is the same as before the pandemic.
“Those that are eligible for disconnection at this point are those that have not kept payment arrangements, but primarily those are the ones that had balances prior to the pandemic,” said Dixon.
For customers who have past due balances as of Oct. 25, which would usually lead to disconnection, OMU has automatically set up payment plans to help avoid a shut off.
Dixon said those who are disconnected have exhausted all other options for payment plans and financial assistance.
“Also, as a public utility, we only charge our customers only what it costs to get that power to them, or that water, you know. So, at some point we have to recoup some of our costs," said Dixon. "If we don’t, those costs have to go onto our other customers. They have to be spread among our other customers.”
OMU is referring customers in financial distress to several area agencies that currently have federal and state funds available to buffer the effects of the pandemic.