Working to keep Nebraska families warm and safe

We believe that no family should have to suffer a harsh Nebraska winter without heat to keep their families warm and safe. Through our intake line where we connect families across the state to the services they need to survive and thrive, we’re receiving more and more calls about from Nebraskan families who are receiving shut-off notices, or their utilities are being disconnected.

As we go into another cold winter, we know that this work will only become more urgent. While some states have a “cold weather rule” that protects people from utility disconnects during extreme temperatures, Nebraska’s rule only applies to private power providers and doesn’t protect the majority of the state, nor anyone who relies on electricity for heat.

Shut-offs can also be traumatic for disabled Nebraskans who depend on access to electricity to power their medical devices, or families who suffer through extreme heat in Nebraska summers. For families who experience repeated shut-offs, losing power is not the only consequence they face, as it can lead to debt, loss of assistance, and in some cases the removal of children from their home.

Appleseed’s Weitz Fellow, Damali Britton, at a recent listening session on utility shut-offs.

We’ve had conversations in communities large and small. The feedback from these listening sessions was unique to each community, but a few common themes stood out: Nebraskans want clarity from their public power companies, and they want security for households that would otherwise be at risk.

At Appleseed, we want to help communities craft solutions that address the needs in their areas – from urban Omaha to rural Seward – and bridge the divide between public power providers and customers to collaborate on policies that make sense and protect people in each of our communities.

Learn more about your rights as a Nebraskan. Read our brochure on Utility Disconnection & Weatherization here.

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