March 20, 2020

Municipal Utilities Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Visit the KLC COVID-19 Resources page.

By now we are all aware of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the foremost expert on disease control, recommends handwashing as the first line of defense against spreading the disease. There is a lot of misinformation about the disease and the impact of the national and state declarations of emergency. To date, there is no legal requirement that utilities cease shutoffs due to nonpayment or restore service to customers that have already been disconnected. Our most recent information is that the Public Service Commission is issuing an order for utilities under its jurisdiction to cease cutoffs and to reconnect service to those that are disconnected. Municipal utilities do not fall under this jurisdiction. However, it is advisable for municipal utilities to consider doing so to stop the spread of this disease.

Across the country, municipal utilities are ceasing water shutoffs and reconnecting service to customers in an effort to address the public health emergency. 
Our city leaders are issuing state of emergency declarations and coordinating emergency efforts to stop the spread of this disease. Again, handwashing is the first line of defense.

Citizens may be seeking assistance with paying utilities. There may be nonprofit or religious organizations in your community that can assist. Veterans should contact their local veterans affairs office or other veterans groups that may offer utility assistance. Aging residents may find resources through local senior centers. Other civic or religious groups may offer assistance to low-income persons. It is always helpful to refer citizens to any local assistance opportunities prior to cutoff.

Regardless, all cities are working to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Kentucky League of Cities strongly encourages ceasing cutoffs during this public health emergency to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all citizens.