SHREVEPORT, La. ((KTAL/KMSS) – SWEPCO denied a Shreveport City Council request to stop electricity cut-offs until Nov. 1.
The request came Tuesday in the form of a resolution passed by the Council in response to this summer’s record-breaking heat that has resulted in higher-than-normal electricity bills.
The resolution used the words ‘urging and requesting,’ SWEPCO to establish a moratorium on disconnection or shutoff of utility service to its customers, explaining that people on fixed incomes, as well as the “elderly, chronically-ill or otherwise more susceptible to heat,” are particularly affected by the high bills.
SWEPCO denied the request, but spokesman Michael Corbin said if the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory for a specific day, SWEPCO will not disconnect electricity for that day or the next. He also said SWEPCO follows the Louisiana Public Service Commission rules and “take each customer account uniquely,” adding that SWEPCO invites any customer with difficulty paying higher bills to call the company.
Councilman Dr. Alan Jackson, who represents District E in southwest Shreveport authored the resolution. He said he was motivated to do so after a woman in his district suffered a seizure after her electricity was disconnected and she was trying to move her things to a cooler space.
“Everybody is faced with a higher bill,” Jackson said, “but we have to start thinking about those individuals who are on a fixed income. What if they have social security? What if their income is fixed and they’re absorbing this higher bill? Can they really afford that? We’re just asking for time for the city and the parish to find other resources to help citizens who are on a fixed income that can’t absorb a higher bill right now.”