BRYAN, Texas — Protesters held a demonstration outside of Bryan Texas Utilities Monday afternoon in an effort to stop the company from disconnecting services while the coronavirus is still active in the communities BTU serves.
Organizers are calling it the 'No COVID Cutoffs' protest.
They asked those who wanted to participate in the protest to wear masks and come to BTU around 4 p.m. Monday.
The protest lasted until about 6 p.m.
Organizers said they have two demands of BTU. The first is not to disconnect services until there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in the company's service area. The second is to put a permanent end to disconnect fees, reconnect fees and additional deposit payments when the service is disconnected.
“This is absolutely unconscionable. To punish poor people for being poor with large fees because that just makes them poorer," said Dan Kiniry, one of the organizers, "It doesn’t make them more able to pay their bills if you take an extra 200 dollars from them. If folks get cut off in the future, they should just be able to pay the money they owe on their account and get them put back on."
Organizers had megaphones available for those who wanted to share their disconnect story or any experiences with BTU. Protesters also brought a few signs.
BTU declined an interview on Monday, but told KAGS the same thing they say they’ve been telling their customers: If those who have issues paying their put off bills call them, the company will work with them to form a payment plan.
In response, Kiniry said, “it’s cruelty disguised with a lot of nice words, but the reality is they started cutting off electric today for families and individuals in Bryan. We need them to make the choice not to cut people off.”
Kiniry also told KAGS he plans on helping organize more peaceful protests until changes are made.
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