City of
Madison

District 1

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Image of Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Contact Information

Home Address:

1209 Dayflower Drive
Madison , WI 53719

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Harrington-McKinney’s Updates

District 1 Community Announcements

October 23, 2020 8:53 AM

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Alder Harrington-McKinney

State Regulators Bar All Utilities from Shutting Off Water, Power and Heat Until Next Spring

Water Utilities Will Not Be Able To Disconnect Service After PSC Vote
By Danielle Kaeding
Published: Thursday, October 22, 2020, 4:45pm

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted 2 to 1 to ban all utility disconnections until next April. The decision means that utilities will not be able to shut off water, power or heat during the winter months. 

Last month, regulators voted 2 to 1 to extend a temporary moratorium on utility shutoffs during the COVID-19 crisis for residential customers until Nov. 1. The decision essentially meant gas and electric utilities would be barred from disconnecting service through April 15, since the state's winter moratorium takes effect Nov. 1. That decision did not apply to water utilities.

Water utilities were asked to submit any disconnection plans for review this month. All in all, 83 out of 578 water utilities submitted plans to shut off service for more than 9,500 customers. 

PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq highlighted the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. She also noted that the 9,500 customers represented the number of meters that would be shut off, and that more people who resided in any of those households were also at risk of losing service. 

"When we have public health experts telling us that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the virus is frequent hand washing, I don't know how in good conscience and based on that public health guidance we can allow utility service to be disconnected," said Valcq.

Ellen Nowak opposed the decision to prevent all water shutoffs during the winter months. She's argued for more targeted solutions to provide assistance to customers in need, highlighting that utilities are required to work out a down payment plan with customers during the pandemic. 

"I think that we could have been narrower, help those in need, prevent people from digging a bigger hole than they're already in, and eventually driving up rates for everybody," said Nowak.

Earlier this month, Gov. Tony Evers invested $15 million in CARES Act funding to the state's Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program in order to help residents pay their heating bills.  Valcq pointed out that similar assistance programs do not exist for water customers. Nowak has previously urged the commission to work with the Evers administration to provide assistance to water customers in need through CARES Act funding.

Utilities have argued an extension would make it more likely customers would fall further behind on their bills, which could result in utilities passing on those losses to all ratepayers.  

Vision Zero: City to Lower Speed Limit on Prairie Road

Beginning Monday, October 26, the City of Madison will move to the next stage of speed changes in this city-wide effort for the Vision Zero initiative. The posted speed limit on Prairie Rd from Raymond Road to Maple Grove Road will change from 30 mph to 25 mph. Similar to the recent East Washington Ave and Milwaukee Street changes, digital signboards will temporarily be placed in the area to remind drivers of the speed limit changes.

Prairie Road is a residential street with an elementary school and a large neighborhood park. Lowering the speed limit even 5 mph helps ensure the safety of all who use our city streets especially children and people walking or biking.

Additional streets that will have speed limit reductions later in 2020 include:

  • Gammon Road from Watts Road to Colony will change from 35 mph to 30 mph
  • McKenna Boulevard from Raymond Road to Watts Road will change from 35 mph to 30 mph
  • Post Road from Fish Hatchery Road to Irvington Way from 30 mph to 25 mph

Previous City news releases on speed reductions 
Vision Zero: City to Lower Speed Limit on East Washington Avenue
Vision Zero: City to Lower Speed Limit on Milwaukee Street

What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a data driven strategy intended to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on City streets by 2030 while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. For more information about the City of Madison's Vision Zero initiative and to sign up for Vision Zero news updates, please see www.cityofmadison.com/visionzero

ยท  Renee Callaway, City of Madison Pedestrian Bicycle Administrator, recallaway@cityofmadison.com




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