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Should It Be Illegal For Power Companies To Cut Power In The Winter?

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posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 02:24 PM
I've said it countless times on this board, but I come from a relatively small town on the east coast of Canada. Our winters can be fairly cold, but no worse or less than the rest of Canada and the northern United States. I am right on the coast line, so when the wind comes in off the water, it can be that much worse. The issue that I am seeing coming up time and time again, over the winter months, is the power companies coming in and cutting off the power of different homes. Protocols are implemented where it is not the standard procedure, and they are quick to remind us of this, but it still happens. Single mothers with children at home are having their power cut off in the middle of the winter, at a time when they may not be able to afford it.

It would be naive to think that some people are not abusing any generosity, and spending money elsewhere while they could be putting it towards some overdue bills, but is it realistic to punish a young child for this? What if there are infants in the home? Are we putting their lives at risk?

Should legislation be passed where it would make it completely illegal for power companies to cut off the power of it's clients during the winter months?

Maybe something along the lines of, from November 15 to March 15, power companies can not cut off the power. Overdue bills can and should accumulate interest over this time if the company can not cut off the power, and sent repeat notices of the outstanding bill. But cutting it off is not a viable option. By adding interest to the bill, the parent or adult in the home is going to be punished for their lack of payments. But by keeping the heat on, the children in the house can remain warm.

In our own neighborhoods we are seeing poverty on the rise. Let's not add to it by putting young children out in the cold because Mommy or Daddy did not pay the bills. Parents should and need to be held accountable, but cutting off the power is not it.

..."Somebody Think Of The Children!"

[edit on 20-2-2007 by chissler]

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 02:26 PM
Ethically...yes, for the US, the government doesn't care. They'll tell you to wear more clothes. The US government is not ethical by any means.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 02:31 PM
This is not restricted to the United States, Canada, or any other nation. Honestly, I would love to hear some opinions and facts on the protocols of other nations. I am sure each locality in the United States may govern this issue differently. It would be interesting to see some percentages on what each one abides by.

Ethically, Morally, etc., the answer is clear. We need to offer protection in these situations.

Is a stiff interest rate enough to off-set the lack of payment over the winter months? Should it be more? Should there be anything? Obviously there needs to be some consequence for not making the payment.

This issue came up in my home town not too long ago because a single mother of two children had her power cut off. They were investigating to see if she actually could afford the bill and was not making the payment, or if she actually could not afford the payment. I don't see how it really makes a difference. The fact of the matter is, the state is putting young children in direct danger. Sure, mother should of paid the bills. But we don't all take in six figure incomes. Even if they can prove that her income is enough to afford the bill, how can they correctly assume how much she is spending on food, bills, etc., for her children?

Seems to me that there are several, less extreme, measures that can be taken.

[edit on 20-2-2007 by chissler]

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 02:39 PM
shouldn't it be illegal for utilities to be run as private corporate enterprises instead of the government?

shouldn't the government take care of our infrastructure?

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 02:44 PM

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
shouldn't it be illegal for utilities to be run as private corporate enterprises instead of the government?

shouldn't the government take care of our infrastructure?

All of which does what to answer the question I proposed?

Should It Be Illegal For Power Companies To Cut Power In The Winter?

Let's discuss the topic. Anything else, free free to author a thread on it. I would be happy to discuss the issue. One topic per thread though. Makes things run easier.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 03:12 PM
I'm not too sure about there being a law about it, but I do agree it isn't really the humane thing to do.

If someone is truly struggling, and honestly wants to be able to pay their bills and provide for their children, there are more than enough ways to do so. I'm not too positive about Canada, but I know in the US you can apply for welfare, and help from a church, and various other non profit organizations. If someone is getting all of this aid and STILL not paying their bills...then there is something wrong with the parent and their spending priorities and it may be time to look into whether they are fit to be caring for a child.

There needs to be some point where some personal accountability comes into play. If someone can't provide for their children, then they need to re evaluate the situation, and see what can be done to make sure it is taken care of, or else make sure the child can go somewhere that they can be cared a relatives place?

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 03:32 PM
Just a note CPS has to wait until non winter months to shut off the electricity. It happened after a lot of poor people died after a major cold front brought a couple of week of major cold. I don't know if it is still the law but is used to be that way.

If nothing else the electric companies of the US should not be allowed to turn off the heat until after many, many months of being behind, 4-5 at least, we can't become like Eastern Europe when they had that heating oil shortage a few years back and were burning anything they could to keep warm.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 04:43 PM
Actually, the state where I live (East Coast USA) does have a law that says the electricity can not be cut off during the winter months.... It has been this way for as long as I can remember.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 05:02 PM
They should never cut off any one's power or gas during extreme weather, hot or cold. Even in nice weather, some people depend on medical equipment that requires power. Whether the bill has been paid or not should simply allow a faceless corporation to place some one's life in jeopardy!

Plus, I have seen our local utilities make toooo many errors over the years, they are certainly not infallible ( especially the billing dept. ) and should make considerations for the failings of well as extra measures to warn customers before just cutting them off.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 06:08 PM

Originally posted by Arkangel4time
Actually, the state where I live (East Coast USA) does have a law that says the electricity can not be cut off during the winter months.... It has been this way for as long as I can remember.

That is good to know. And might I add to a preconceived notion of my opening post, I am not being specific with the American government. I am not familiar with how it runs south of the border, but I am interested to hear.

As I said in my opening post, in my own locality, it is "standard procedure" to refrain from shutting off power to homes during the winter season. It happens, how frequent I could only speculate, but the companies are johnny on the spot to remind us of their kind hearted "standard procedure".

I think the bigger problem here is that dreaded "almighty dollar". At what point do we stop living, do we stop being humans, and focus on the monetary value of a life? Honestly though. I understand how the system works, and I do not dispute that we need it, but I bemoan to think that an outstanding bill is worthy enough of putting a man, woman, or child in harms way of mother nature.

Some things should be more important.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 06:24 PM
I am not sure and cannot verify this but I do believe here there is a Wisconsin law that prevents the power company from disconnecting the power from something like the end of November to the first of April.

My wife agrees and says she is positive but I will try and find the law if I can and then post it.

posted on Feb, 20 2007 @ 11:25 PM
Well I'm not sure if my state has that, I'll look into it though, to make sort of a tally of where does..

On to the topic though.
Yes, I think there should be a law that does not allow the power
companies to turn off the power in the winter, in fact I'd take it a step
further and make it they can't turn the power off during extreme heat
or extreme cold, regardless of what part of the year it is.

I think when it comes to overdue bills, each case needs to be looked
into individually, as there are a great many variables, and simply
turning off the power is a bad idea, especially if it turns out the mail
service lost it, or the company recieved it, but it did'nt get immedi-
ately recorded.

The problem really does seem to be that far to many people value
money more than the lives/health of there feloow person.

posted on Feb, 21 2007 @ 12:22 PM
Just to touch on a few comments...

IF you have a medical condition that requires electricity for machines or what have you and its life threatening without said are registered with the power company as a special case...they will even go as far as to contact the local fire dept in an outage and make sure you have a running generator or be removed to a place w/ electricity...they NEVER turn off that sort of person unless there is 6+ months of non payment...which brings me to the other point

Power companies generally do not turn you off for missing "1" payment as a poster alluded to (missed or lost in the mail etc)...usually you wil get your bill. then you get an overdue notice(yellow here) then... usually 8 weeks later you get the dreaded pink notice which is a warning to disconnect in 15 days if not dealt with...they are easy to get along with here in DE. and will even offer to spread the overdue amount over 3-6 months to help you out.

You have to really try to get turned off here. If you just flat out ignore them for 3 months then they will send the meter man to your house and yet another time ask for payment before they disconnect. It's definately NOT like cruel or w/o warning as this thread seems to imply.

[edit on 21-2-2007 by Arkangel4time]

posted on Feb, 24 2007 @ 10:45 PM
The state I live in has "winter rules" also whereby they won't shut you off during thw winter.

Children are affected, yes, and also the elderly. It's sad to see old people doing without necessities.

On point needs to be made, tho, and this is regardles of whether you can pay your bill or not: the need to be reasonable and to conserve energy. I've walked into some people's houses where the thermostat is set to 75 degrees F. Do you really need it that warm?

posted on Feb, 24 2007 @ 10:49 PM
Chicago also has a law that permiys electric companies from cutting electric four months out of year.


posted on Mar, 31 2007 @ 09:53 PM
I can speak on personal experience on this one. The power company cut the power to my house last month. No problem right? It was February. The problem is that I live in Alaska and it was -40 that day.

Second problem is that I am currently deployed and got word from the guy that is checking on my house every day.

Third problem is some of my water pipes burst and pets froze to death.

I don't know about any laws in AK about not turning off the power in the winter but when I get back I am definitely planning on some sort of legal action. I think it is total crap that it happened.

What is even worse is that the whole thing happened due to a mistake on part of the power company. Apparently there was a mixup and they turned the wrong persons power off. Mine is on autopay so I was not worrying about it as I always check to make sure it is charged each month.

Hope nobody else has to go through this!

Oh yea...on a sidenote they are charging me over $1000 because they had to call someone in on the weekend to turn it back on. Good stuff huh?

posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 01:35 AM
South Carolina currently has a law that prohibits Power Companies from cutting if the weather in the foreseeable future is going to reach 35F or below or 95F or above..

I believe that North Carolina does as well....


posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 08:44 PM
As far as I know, there are budget plans, home heating assistance offered to the poorer customers.
Surely there is opportunity for these customers to avail themselves of these services.
I certainly get the info stuffed in bills at the appropriate times. And, I'm pretty sure they can't cut power in winter. (Michigan)

Although heat should not be cut off in the winter, neither should people think they can just not pay their bills for several months running.
If anything, churches and charities should step in.

posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 09:13 PM
They do DTOM..

Here in SC, the utility is actually a State Owned Corporation nd I do investigations that involve them at times...

CAP (Church's Assisting People) is a LARGE multi-state organization that assists with this issue..

Individual Churches can file extensions on behalf of people ETC...

There are literally dozens of theses organizations that as we all know receive money from the state and help those that have trouble paying...

One of the issues I hear all the time from the Revenue Protection Division there is that they go into the parking lots, to hand collect because they wont pay, and they have to walk past the Hummer in the driveway to get to where they can turn off the power..


posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 11:56 PM
Until a few years ago, my brother was an administrator for Detroit Edison, a major supplier of electric power for Southeastern Michigan. Michigan and most Northern states have time based dates -- usually between November and March -- where the power is NOT cut off. Southern states vary but, again, given special circumstances; i.e. medical disability, elderly customers or "special circumstances", the delivery of electricity is protected. Again, this does vary from state to state.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services, Division of Energy Assistance has provided for a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Clearinghouse since the late '80's. The fund helps to finance power payments for low-income customers while offering "shut off" protection for the most vulnerable members of society; the eldery, the infirm and those who face extraordinary circumstances.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) The link connects to a database showing the energy policies, as it pertains to low income, elderly, infirm and special needs customers.

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