Cavanaugh: Confident no Alabama Power, Spire customers will be disconnected due to coronavirus
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Public Service Commission (PSC) President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh announced that the two biggest utility companies the commission regulates are not disconnecting service for anyone affected financially by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PSC regulates Alabama Power Company (the state’s largest provider of electricity) and Spire (formerly Alagasco). The commission does not regulate electric cooperatives or the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
Cavanaugh’s statement recognized that President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency due to coronavirus, after which Governor Kay Ivey also declared a State of Emergency. Local municipalities across Alabama have further declared State of Emergencies within their jurisdictions.
“I and my colleagues on the Commission have been working with Alabama Power and Spire to ensure that those whose jobs are affected by COVID-19 do not face the added hardship of interruption of utility services,” Cavanaugh advised.
“I am gratified that as a result of our quietly working with utility leaders, not a single customer whose income has been affected by this health crisis has had their utility service discontinued. Without politicizing this human tragedy by seeking attention for their actions, Alabama Power and Spire have simply done what is in the best interest of their customers,” she continued. “I am confident that none of these company’s customers whose livelihood is affected by COVID-19 will experience an interruption in service while the crisis continues. Utility leaders have assured the Commission that after this crisis period, the companies will assist customers in handling past-due obligations.”
The Republican PSC president concluded by praising the utility workers who put themselves on the line to keep electric and gas services available to Alabamians.
“Further, it cannot be ignored that in the midst of the apparent fear, panic and confusion taking place in our country, the men and women working the power and gas lines are keeping the lights on, the gas flowing and the wheels of industry turning and are not sheltering in place, they are doing whatever is necessary to meet the demands and needs of their neighbors. These people are true heroes,” Cavanaugh stressed.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn