Jacksonville, FL -- Starting today, Green Cove Springs will resume their delinquent cutoff policy, which allows the utility to shut off water and electricity service for prior nonpayment. This news confirms fears that as the COVID-19 crisis rages on, resulting in record breaking unemployment claims, utilities will resume disconnections for services. This development comes as dozens of organizations call on Governor DeSantis to follow the lead of 15 other states and issue a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs. A new analysis released yesterday from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works identifies Florida as one of only a handful of states that have taken no action to protect residents from the loss of essential water services.
A coalition sign-on letter released earlier this month calls for Governor DeSantis to issue an executive order halting all water shutoffs for reasons of nonpayment, restoring water to those who have had it shut off for reasons of nonpayment, and waiving all late fees on water bills for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Amid news of utilities resuming shutoffs, Food & Water Action is doubling down on this demand.
Michelle Allen, Florida State Director for Food & Water Action, has issued the following statement:
“Shutting off utility service during a global health pandemic is unconscionable. Withholding water could cost lives. Green Cove Springs’ households that have their water shut off will struggle to prevent the rampant spread of the coronavirus. People can’t keep their families from getting sick if they can’t wash their hands. It’s common sense.
“Many Floridians are out of work, and considering the state has failed massively to deliver much-needed unemployment benefits to more than half of Floridians seeking assistance, the least Governor DeSantis should do is ensure water access to every household. Public health depends on water access. We need access to water to keep ourselves and our communities safe.”