Foster Campbell: Keep the lights on

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana utility regulators should extend their moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment because of continued economic disruption from the coronavirus, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell said.

“Thousands of Louisiana families are facing unemployment and possible eviction from their homes due to the virus,” said Campbell, North Louisiana LPSC member.

“Now is not the time to add to their misery by shutting off their power, water and other essential services.”

Campbell cited the deep decline of the American economy in the second quarter, expiring unemployment benefits to workers and continuing disconnection freezes in Texas and Arkansas.

“We should be consistent with these neighboring states, especially when several Louisiana utilities have customers in Arkansas and Texas and are following their rules,” he said.

The LPSC froze disconnections for non-payment in March due to the coronavirus emergency. Campbell said he’s pushing for an emergency Commission order to maintain the moratorium.

“Louisiana utilities say the majority of their customers are continuing to pay their bills,” Campbell said. “Entergy is even reporting higher sales of electricity and a $361-million profit for the second quarter.

“I’m worried about the families that are in dire straits. We can’t disconnect their critical services when they may have lost their jobs and even their homes.”