For Immediate Release
Given the emerging threat posed by the spread of COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy should call for an immediate moratorium on water shutoffs across the state, and to restore service to households that were previously cut off.
Major cities across the country are moving to stop shutoffs, most notably Detroit, Phoenix, New Orleans and Atlanta. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced a statewide moratorium on shutoffs by all regulated utilities today. A similar move was also announced in Wisconsin.
Food & Water Action’s Public Water for All Campaign Director Mary Grant issued the following statement:
“A moratorium on water shutoffs during the coronavirus epidemic is common sense, and must be an urgent public health priority. People cannot wash their hands if their water service has been shut off.
“As it is, water shutoffs are a national emergency. A 2016 Food & Water Watch survey of the largest water utilities found that an estimated 15 million Americans lost service for failing to pay their bills. But the scale of the problem in New Jersey is difficult to assess, because private companies like NJ American Water and Suez refused to make their shutoff data public.
“Access to safe and affordable water should be a universal human right at all times, but at the very least our elected officials should ensure everyone has the ability to wash their hands to help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease. Governor Murphy should include a moratorium on water shutoffs as part of the state’s response to the threat posed by COVID-19.”