Caddo commissioners consider seeking moratorium on electrical disconnects

Official’s resolution also proposes assistance with utility payments
SWEPCO's Michael Corbin addresses Caddo Commissioner Steven Jackson and other commissioners...
SWEPCO's Michael Corbin addresses Caddo Commissioner Steven Jackson and other commissioners during the panel's work session Aug. 1, 2022.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 11:26 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Caddo commissioners on Thursday, Aug. 4 plan to discuss whether to ask SWEPCO and Panola-Harrison power companies for a moratorium on disconnects until at least November.

The idea was broached during commissioners’ work session Monday, Aug. 1 as a means of helping residents who are behind on their skyrocketing electric bills.

SWEPCO claims they’re not cutting off anyone’s power ... at least not right now.

“I can tell you as recent as last Wednesday morning, I got a call from a 60-year-old senior resident,” Commissioner Steven Jackson said. “And I can play the audio file right here that says she’s gonna be disconnected and we were under heat advisory last week.”

That is one of the many concerns that pushed Jackson to propose the resolution asking power companies to keep the electricity on at least during this extreme heat.

During Monday’s work session, SWEPCO officials agreed that desperate times call for desperate measures.

“In times like this where we have heat advisory day after day, we’re not allowed to do disconnects and we’ve not done disconnects for months,” SWEPCO’s Michael Corbin said.

“We don’t want to do disconnects. We want to find a way to keep the power on. To keep people comfortable and work with them on their bill just as much as we can.”

Jackson’s resolution also proposes assistance with utility payments.

Commissioners said some residents have told them that their electric bills have doubled and even tripled.

“We trying to figure out why our electric bill is so high. People can’t afford that right now,” activist Breka Peoples said. “We’re in the midst of a ... We’re still in a pandemic. School’s coming up, so people have to by school supplies. Our senior citizens, you know, they’re on a fixed income.”

Commissioners tell us they’re looking to get access to state dollars to help people with increased payments and late fees.

And Jackson shared a firm reminder that you still need to pay your bill if you can. “This is not a pause in payment. You are responsible for paying your bill right now.

“What we’re saying is we want to support with regards to our disconnections. We want to see how we can get late fees waived,” he explained. “And we want to see how we can do that consistently across the board, not on a case-by-case situation.”

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