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The cost of utilities can represent a significant financial burden for many low-income people, particularly individuals with a significant illness or disability. For people who are chronically ill, electricity can be crucial to refrigerate medicines and power medical devices such as nebulizers, oxygen concentrators, and dialysis machines. Other serious illnesses that may be impacted by utilities shut-off include mental health conditions and chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma. A 2015 study found that a medical certification preventing utilities shut-offs can potentially improve the well-being and health of children with special needs or chronic health conditions. 

Utilities companies cannot terminate the service of individuals who are seriously ill (as defined by a physician) and who cannot afford to pay bills because of financial hardship. This form can be filled out to advocate with Rhode Island Energy for a patient with a serious illness or disability who is at risk of having their utilities shut off. Special accommodations can be put in place to ensure that service is not terminated for a set period of time.


  1. Medical Disability Utility Shut-Off Protection Form

Next steps

This form should be completed and sent to Rhode Island Energy (address on form).