Protesters march to We Energies to keep the lights on

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Protesters marched to We Energies Wednesday, July 22, to keep the lights on. A protest organizer said it’s not right to cut power to people who can’t pay their bills during a pandemic.

North Side Rising wants to let We Energies know how important it is to have essential energy and power.

“Please just have a heart, please look at us as people and not as profit,” said Dana Kelley, one of the organizers of North Side Rising’s protest Wednesday.

They’re upset the public service commission of Wisconsin ended the moratorium on utility disconnections for non-payment.

“We are struggling,’ said Kelley. “So to struggle to whether you’re going to pay the electric bill, or buy food, that’s not something right now that people need to be struggling and worrying about.”

The group is demanding We Energies not disconnect anyone for non-payment, stop charging reconnection, late, and deposit fees and forgive debts up to $500 dollars.

“We Energies is bonded. They will not lose any money from stopping the disconnections, they will not lose any money from forgiving debts up to $500 dollars,” said Kelley. “And I think we’re asking for fair and moral demands.”

“We certainly understand that customers are having a hard time right now,” said Alison Trouy, a spokesperson for We Energies.

We Energies says thousands of customers have contacted them to set up payment plans with them-and disconnection is always their last resort.

“There are minimum payment options, payment plans, and you may even qualify for energy assistance,” said Trouy. “They’ve changed a lot of the guidance around that because of the pandemic.”

Protesters say they don’t think they’re asking for much-just what’s fair.

“It’s to me, a no-brainer. It’s only right, it’s only fair,” said Kelley. “So we’re asking them to do what’s right, and that’s to keep the lights on.”

We Energies says they have programs that are available to people who are struggling.

North Side Rising says they’re willing to work with We Energies to do what’s best for the community.

Fourteen members of the Milwaukee Common Council asked the state to reinstate the moratorium on disconnections.

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