It has been two weeks since the City of Cleveland announced
that it would temporarily halt utility shutoffs and restore power and water connections to those customers whose service had been disconnected due to lack of payment.
Since that time, the city reports, Cleveland Public Power has reconnected 59 total customers and the Cleveland Water Department has reconnected 507 total customers.
The power restorations do not appear to be automatic,
however. At least for CPP, customers without electric service must submit requests for reconnection at cpp.org/contact or by calling 216-664-4600.
"If they call in and their power's off, there are no parameters," a CPP spokesperson told Scene. "Anyone who calls in is being connected. We are even making arrangements for folks who have been off for an extended period. We are attempting to get them to make some sort of payment, but if they say that there's no way they can pay, we are still reconnecting them."
The total number of disconnected CPP customers was not immediately available.
On the same day that Cleveland made its announcement (Mar. 13), First Energy announced that it, too, would halt power shutoffs and restore connections during the coronavirus outbreak for its customers with the Illuminating Company (CEI).
"We understand that electricity is a basic necessity that our customers rely on all day, every day," a First Energy spokesperson told Scene Thursday, "and the coronavirus emergency has made electric service all the more important as states roll out business shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders that require people to stay in their homes."
CEI customers may still receive shutoff notices, the spokesperson said, which are evidently legally required so that customers know the status of their account. But no shutoffs will be performed.
First Energy has about 700,000 regional customers with CEI. The spokesperson said that in 2020, prior to March 13, 800 accounts had been shut off for delinquent payment. He estimated that roughly 600 of them have been restored.
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