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OPC Alert-Utilities, eviction prevention information, and th

June 7, 2021 12:49 PM
Good afternoon,

Utility Moratorium: The Public Service Commission has ordered a hold on all gas/electric service terminations until June 30, 2021 for the following two groups ONLY:

1)      Any customer with a signed medical certification on file with the utility.

2)      Any customer who has received or been qualified to receive Office of Home Energy assistance since February 15, 2017.

See the attachment for more details.

Utility Bill Payment Help:

- Check out a video on how to keep your power on even when you are facing high utility bills.

- All utilities are offering 12-month payment plans with no down payment required. Contact your utility for more information.

- The Office of People's Counsel has created an energy assistance toolkit to help Maryland households facing utility turn-off notices. This toolkit includes videos on how to fill out the Office of Home Energy Programs application, forms, and resource guides. 

For more resources, visit our website

Free Training on helping clients pay their energy bills: OPC offers free training on client utility issues and protections to government, nonprofit, and faith based agencies. Contact me if you are interested in free training for your agency.  

Utility Help for Baltimore CityMaryland Volunteer Lawyer ServicesProbono Resource Center of MD and Office of People's Counsel have come together to provide remote Utility Clinics. Baltimore City residents can receive free legal advice from volunteer attorneys and from OPC staff regarding their water, gas, and/or electric bills. Attorneys will advise on issues such as unusually high or delinquent bills, bill disputes, shutoffs, and questions about financial assistance that may be available. Everything is done via phone, email, text, and mail. See the attached flyer for more information about how to connect clients to this free service. Please feel free to distribute. 

Eviction Information for TenantsMaryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has released “Residential Eviction in Maryland: Information for Tenants,” to help individuals and families who will be facing eviction, particularly due to nonpayment of rent during the COVID pandemic. The guidance issued by the Attorney General’s office is intended to help residential tenants understand their rights and where to look for legal help if an eviction lawsuit is filed against them.

Tax CreditThere have been changes to the Child Tax Credit that will help many families receive advance payments starting this summer. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021 only.

For tax year 2021, eligible families claiming the CTC will receive up to $3,000 per qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 at the end of 2021. They will receive $3,600 per qualifying child under age 6 at the end of 2021.

Advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will be made regularly from July through December to eligible taxpayers.

For more information visit the IRS website.

Student LoansInterest and monthly payments on federally held loans are suspended through September 30, 2021. You do not need to contact your student loan servicer or take any action on your federally held student loans. For more information visit Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.