Moratorium on Utility Shut-offs and Late Fees

July 12, 2020

Update: On June 29, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an amended Executive Order extending the prohibition on residential utility service terminations and late fees until September 1, 2020.

Keep the Lights On! 

On June 29, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an amended Executive Order extending the prohibition on residential utility service terminations and late fees until August 1, 2020.  This date is coming up fast so what does that mean for you?

It means that on August 1st, utility companies can charge you for the last four months of utility usage and late fees. If you had an outstanding bill before the moratorium was put in place, that amount would also be due. For more information about assistance, visit

Take these three steps to make sure your utility bills are not shut off:

STEP ONE: Contact your Utility Company

Most utilities are providing assistance on a case by case basis so contact them NOW to see what you can do about your bill. Many utilities have Budget Billing and Customer Affordability Programs which are tools that utility companies provide to help spread out annual energy and water bills into even monthly payments. This helps you avoid spikes in your energy bill caused by seasonal fluctuations and unusual utility usage. Contact them TODAY!

STEP TWO: See if you Qualify for Energy Assistance

If you have already contacted the utility and still need Energy Assistance, make sure you know how to apply. You can find more detailed information here at the Maryland Department of Human Services Office of Home Energy Programs.

Energy Assistance is a year round program. You can apply at any time during the year, but you can only receive benefits once each year and must reapply each fiscal year (July- June). If you received benefits between July 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, you can reapply now for benefits that will be issued in July 2020.

If you are having trouble affording your utility or heating bill, you do not need a turn off notice to qualify for assistance. The Office of Home Energy Programs strongly encourages you to apply for assistance before you receive a turn-off notice so that funds can be applied to your account as soon as possible. All OHEP program eligibility is income-based and you do not need a turn off notice to qualify for assistance.

STEP THREE: Apply for utility assistance programs

The Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) makes energy costs more affordable, prevents the loss of home energy service, and helps restore interrupted service.

There are various types of assistance programs available to customers:

If you need help paying heating bills: You may qualify for the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)

  • This program helps eligible families with the cost of heating.
  • Payments are made to the fuel supplier and utility company on the customer’s behalf.

If you are in danger of having your utility turned off:  You may qualify for the Utility Service Protection Program (USPP)

  • This program is available to ALL MEAP participants.
  • This program provides access to an even monthly payment program and protection from service disconnection.
  • Participation in this program also requires a year-round even monthly budget billing.

If you need help paying electricity bills: You may qualify for the Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP)

  • This program helps low-income electric customers pay their electric bills.
  • Eligible customers receive help that pays a portion of their current electric bills.
  • Customers who receive EUSP are placed on a budget billing plan with their electricity company.

If you need help paying overdue bills: You may qualify for the Arrearage Retirement Assistance

  • This program helps customers with large, past due electric and gas bills.
  • Eligible customers with a past due bill of $300 or greater may receive a grant amount up to $2000 once every seven years paid directly to their energy utility company.

Apply for all utility assistance programs HERE.

You can also request a Home Energy Program application:

  • By phone, 240-777-4450
  • Download it in English or Spanish
  • Pick up, mail or deliver completed applications to Office of Home Energy Programs, 1301 Piccard Drive, 4th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850

7 comments on "Moratorium on Utility Shut-offs and Late Fees"

  1. Denver Taylor says:

    I have applied for Government assistance with my utilities and was denied on 12/15/20 with no valid reason or explanation. I have been furlough from my job since 4/17/20 and have not been able to get work since. I have exhausted all my savings including my 401K just to make it to this point and now I have no funds to move forward. I cannot understand how you reach to the conclusion of denying my application when it clearly show I have no income for the past 9 months and have been barely getting by. Please get back to me ASAP with some explanation and any recommendations of how I can proceed Going forward. Thanks for sincere understanding regarding my current financial situation.

    1. Larissa Johnson says:

      We will send you an email directly.

  2. Denver Taylor says:

    Good afternoon, I’m in receipt of a letter from DHCD informing me that I was approved as a candidate to receive no cost energy efficiency improvement to my home at no cost due to my economic conditions.
    I been trying to get a hold of someone who can schedule me an appointment with a contractor ASAP.
    The information provided on the letter does not allow me to get to a contractor to schedule an appointment.
    The information said to contact a contractor “Community Action Council of Howard County” however, I do not reside in Howard County.

    Please assist with scheduling an appointment or provide me the department or contact which I can follow up with.
    I sincerely appreciate your time and attention to this matter.

    1. Larissa Johnson says:

      Denver, I will email you directly. For anyone else with questions about this program:

  3. Content here based on the moratorium on the utility shut off and the late fees ends in August. Anyone searching for same topic may find their shelter here. I am sure many people will come to read this in future. Great blog indeed, will visit again future to read more. You have done a great research for I feel, thanks for sharing.

    1. Larissa Johnson says:

      Thank you so very much for the kind words, it is appreciated. On June 29, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an amended Executive Order extending the prohibition on residential utility service terminations and late fees until September 1, 2020. More updated information can always be found on

  4. Robin vample says:

    I was accepted but can’t find my letter

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