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Environmental Justice

Lights Out in the Cold

Environmental Justice

Reforming Utility Shut-Off Policies as if Human Rights Matter

As a part of a broader consumer protection arrangement, the adoption of utility disconnection policies acknowledges the problems faced by customers who are vulnerable to having their utilities disconnected. Unfortunately, the interests of these customers often compete with the interests of utility companies, regulators, and other utility customers. This poses an obstacle to the design of appropriate disconnection policies that recognize the necessity of utility services and the rights of utility customers.

This report provides:

  • A comprehensive overview of common disconnection protections and policies employed by utilities nationwide
  • Explores critical issues that should be considered in the development of disconnection policies
  • Calls for concrete action toward establishing policies that protect the well-being of all utility customers and the eventual ELIMINATION OF UTILITY DISCONNECTIONS.

The need to incorporate human rights into the utility business model is a key component of the larger reform of the extractive energy economy and movement toward energy justice. The energy justice movement upholds that all individuals have the right to safe, sustainable energy production, resilient and updated energy infrastructure, affordable energy, and uninterrupted energy service.

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