Utilities Cut Off Record Numbers

After the record number of home foreclosures, Americans face a new peril. Utilities are shutting off more customers who cannot pay their bills. In Pennsylvania, an electricity company has cut off supplies to 78 percent more homes than last year. The utility companies say they are under pressure to clean out accounts that are weighing down their books at a time when their stocks are being hammered and earnings growth has slowed, The Wall Street Journal reports. And it is not just the poor that are at risk. “We’re seeing an uptick in middle-class people who have never been in this situation before,” said Eric Hartsfield, of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.