People protest at BTU as local utility companies resume termination of services, late fees

Protesters believe termination of services and late fees should not restart yet.
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 11:49 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - People gathered in front of BTU on Monday in response to Bryan Texas Utilities and College Station Utilities resuming termination of services and late fees.

For the past three months, the utility companies have waived these services in response to the pandemic and protesters say now is not the right time to begin again.

“One of the big messages of the protest today was about not making this about ourselves, but those in our community who are going to be hurt by this,” said Carlos Espina, co-organizer of the protest. “And just imagine your kid not being able to do their online classes without electricity, or you having to spend a summer in Texas without any A/C. Just think about those who are going to be affected and sympathize with them.”

People in attendance included those who were directly impacted by the restart of the service. Some shared personal stories of having to choose between affording medication or paying their bill. There were also some who aren’t affected but said they wanted to show their support.

The group expressed their thoughts and concerns through speeches and also by singing their own rendition of this “Little Light of Mine.”

The overall theme expressed by each of the speakers was about how they believe it’s unfair for utilities to be shut off during the pandemic, while people have lost their jobs, plus during the heat of summer in Texas.

The event organizer says they have reached out to Bryan City Council and BTU.

“I have heard a lot of very nice words from people, BTU, from people in the city council,” said Dan Kiniry, co-organizer of the protest. “I’ve heard very nice words about their hearts going out, heard very nice words about ‘how much we hate turning off electricity we just hate it, it’s the worst part of our jobs,' but that’s not good enough, you need to hate it enough not to do it that’s what we need.”

The organizers told KBTX that another protest is not currently planned as they wait for reactions from Bryan and College Station leaders and utility providers.

On July 15, CSU and BTU told KBTX that customers should reach out to them directly to discuss options to avoid disconnection and for payment plan options.

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