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After outcry, Abbeville reverses decision on cutting electricity

Electrical utility
Posted at 12:55 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 20:22:33-04

Abbeville has made changes to their decision to disconnect non-paying electrical utility customers during the declared state of emergency.

The city says they are now planning to work with individuals regarding disconnections on a case by case basis.

The change comes after many residents raised concern that the decision would harm those most effected by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Mark Piazza says that elderly citizens, those with medical emergencies and those out of work due to COVID-19 and are in need of an extension will need to contact city hall.

The mayor says they are actively looking for resources to aid those in need and relieve the economic burden on some members of the community caused by the coronavirus.

"We are actively working with City and State officials as well as other municipalities on a daily basis to make the best decisions possible in managing this unprecedented situation. City utilities are purchased from a supplier, and we need to be able to continue providing utilities to Citizens thought this pandemic," the post reads. "We are actively looking for resources to aid those in need and we have no intention to further the economic burden on the members of our community whose circumstances have been altered due to COVID-19.

On Thursday, Mayor Piazza declared a State of Emergency in the city due to COVID-19.

He made clear during that announcement that city utilities and services would continue to collect fees and disconnect customers who failed to pay.

The Mayor said that while the Louisiana Public Service Commission had informed "for-profit" utility companies that they couldn't disconnect customers for non-payments, that policy did not apply to cities. LUS, Cleco, Entergy, Atmos and Slemco have already announced intentions to not suspend those who would ordinarily be disconnected.

Fees would continue to be collected, according to Piazza, because they directly provide funds for public safety, services, and city operations.

Abbeville residents needing an extention on their utility bills can contact city hall at 337-893-8550.