Moderator Chris Ayers is Executive Director for the North Carolina Public Utility Commission. Julie Soderna is General Counsel for the Illinois Citizens Utility Board. Drew Slater is a Public Advocate for the state of Delaware. Mark Toney is Executive Director of The Utility Reform Network. Liz Anderson works for the Office of Attorney General in the state of Massachusetts. Stefanie Brand is Director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel.
A roundtable discussion with NASUCA State Advocates focused on efforts to help customers manage and pay off arrearages now that disconnection moratoria are expiring across the country. The panel addressed programs or processes within their states that could be replicated, innovative ways to connect customers to resources to help pay bills, and involvement in coordinating and moving federal money to customers to pay utility bills. Listen in on these memorable moments.
Moderator and Executive Director, North Carolina Public Utility Commission, Chris Ayers: We're beginning to emerge from COVID. We still have customers that either haven't found jobs or haven't been called back to work. Customers are still behind on utility bills. A lot of those customers were struggling before the pandemic hit. These are what Consumer Advocates have been grappling with.
Give an idea of how your office or state has been connecting consumers with resources. What does that look like? Where are the challenges? Have you been able to do things within your office or influence government organizations to do things that can be replicated in other states, that we could take back from this NASUCA conference and implement or advocate for in our states?