Congressman Johnson Extends Hand to Americans Struggling to Pay Power Bills
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Hank Johnson’s (D-GA) Preventing Termination of Utility Services in Bankruptcy Act became law today when it passed both Houses of Congress and was expected to be signed by the president as part of the 2021 Omnibus spending package.
The bill, which Congressman Johnson took over from retiring Congressman Conyers in 2018, would end the practice of utility companies forcing individuals to pay additional assurances simply because they have filed for bankruptcy.
Amidst a worsening winter pandemic with millions of Americans struggling to pay rent, bills and put food on the table, Rep. Johnson’s bill protects consumers from having to pay additional fees to keep their lights on and ensures that they are less likely to have their utilities suspended.
Millions of low-income Americans and seniors across the United States struggle to pay their utilities and some even have their electricity shut off during the coldest time of the year. Lack of access to electricity presents serious health concerns, including heat stroke, dehydration, and hypothermia.
“People are really hurting out here and during these cold winter months, with a pandemic expected to grow worse before things get better, the least we can do as lawmakers is protect people from getting their power cut off just because they’re in bankruptcy,” said Johnson.
“Attempts by utility companies to extract additional fees from customers in bankruptcy endangers Americans, particularly in the summer and winter months. This practice needs to end.”