Wisconsin bars utility shutoffs through Oct. 1 as one-third of households struggle to pay — 8/20/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Wisconsinites who are struggling to pay their utility bills during the pandemic will get an extended reprieve.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to extend the state’s moratorium on shutoffs of electricity, gas or water services until Oct. 1, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“Almost 1.4 million households — 32.9% of the total — were behind on their bills in July, together owing nearly $229 million, according to the PSC’s survey of nearly 200 utilities,” Chris Hubbuch reports. “For comparison, fewer than 13% of residential customers were behind in April of the previous two years, although those past-due balances averaged about $186 million.”

Some 93,673 residential customers were slated to lose service without a moratorium extension, Hubbuch reports. That included 7,500 customers who were at risk of losing water.

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Angela Major / WPR

Brienna Wagner, center, wears a mask while sitting at an outdoor table with Andy Wagner on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Waukesha.

Wisconsin regulators extend shutoff ban; one third of households behind on utility billsWisconsin State Journal 

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“Based off the community spread, because we have high community transmission in this state, we can expect that there will be school outbreaks.”

Traci DeSalvo, acting director of the Wisconsin Department of Health Service’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases, as quoted by WISN-TV

Data to note

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Pick-your-own apple orchards are taking precautions, but they’re open for business during the pandemicMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

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