Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moratorium NOW! Coalition Appeals to Michigan Gov. Granholm to Impose Halt to Winter Utility Shut-offs

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Action: Moratorium NOW! Coalition Wants Winter Halt to Utility Shut-offs; Group Writes Letter to Gov. Granholm to Impose Moratorium

Contact: Abayomi Azikiwe, 313.671.3715
Address: 5920 Second Avenue, Detroit MI, 48202
URL: http://moratorium-mi.org

Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shut-offs Calls for Winter Halt to Heating, Electrical and Water Service Terminations

A recent meeting of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition decided to appeal to Gov. Jennifer Granholm once again to impose an immediate halt to utility shut-offs in Detroit and throughout the state. The letter reads in part as follows:

"At our last meeting on Monday, November 22, we held extensive discussions on the economic conditions prevailing in Detroit and throughout the state. The unemployment rate in Michigan, over 13 percent, is still above what exist in other states around the country. Despite efforts to stem the tide of rising unemployment, the overall net job losses remain far too large.

"As a result of high unemployment and underemployment, Michigan's, and particularly Detroit's, foreclosure and eviction rates along with utility shut-offs, are astronomical. In a meeting last summer with executives at DTE Energy, we were informed that over 150,000 of the company's customers have had their services disconnected during the last year."

This situation will worsen with the recent failure of the U.S. Congress to pass an extension of unemployment benefits that will directly devastate the families of over 90,000 unemployed workers in the state of Michigan. The hardest-hit mortgage modification program that was announced months ago by the Governor has only assisted less than 200 households around the state.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition letter to Gov. Granholm continues by saying that:

"Therefore, we are requesting that you utilize your political and legal authority to impose a moratorium on utility shut-offs beginning before the Thanksgiving holiday and extending until at least May 1.

"With Winter approaching absent of a moratorium on utility shut-offs, hundreds of thousands of people around the state risk imminent danger that could result in serious injury, sickness and even death. We only need to remind ourselves of the deaths that occured during 2009-2010 as a result of utility shut-offs.

"In July 2009, the Reed-Owens family of northwest Detroit lost four members after their power was shut-off by DTE Energy. At least another 10 people, inlcuding children, have met their early demise as a result of the policies of DTE Energy and the lack of a moratorium on utility shut-offs imposed by the state. In September, 85 homes were destroyed as a direct result of the failure of DTE Energy to carry out maintenance on faulty transformers and downed power lines."

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is a community-based organization that was formed during the early months of 2008. Since its formation the organization has worked tirelessly to win a moratorium on home foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs in the state of Michigan. This group intends to pursue the demand for a declaration of economic emergency in Michigan through public meetings, demonstrations and other actions aimed at organizing people who are the most severely affected by the current economic crisis.

Members of the press seeking comments from the Moratorium NOW! Coalition can contact us through the information list above.

Abayomi Azikiwe
Moratorium NOW! Coalition
Media Liaison

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