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Virginia Senate passes bill to provide utility debt relief

Photo: WDBJ7
Photo: WDBJ7(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 4:37 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Senate passed a bill to provide relief for those dealing with utility bill debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), passed 24-12. Companion legislation in the House is proposed by Del. Lashrecse Aird (D-Petersburg).

In March, the State Corporation Commission issued a moratorium on disconnections of electric, gas and water. The moratorium was set to expire on Sept. 16 but has been extended until Oct. 5 after Gov. Ralph Northam asked for the extension to give the General Assembly time to address the issue.

“No Virginian should have their lights or water shut off because of the Coronavirus economic crisis,” said McClellan. “This bill is a common-sense solution to ensure that Virginians can repay debt over time, and don’t face a crushing mountain of utility debt at the end of the moratorium. I look forward to working with the House and the Governor to pass this critical legislation to protect Virginia families struggling during this economic crisis.”

The proposed bill would create a 12-month repayment period, with no penalties, late fees, finance charges or application fees.

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