CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WICS/WCCU) — Local leaders in Champaign-Urbana from the No Ameren Shutoffs campaign and Cunningham Township held a car rally and a live radio speak out on Thursday.
The route they took during the rally went through neighborhoods that are allegedly slated for utility shutoffs.
Participants covered their cars with signs and paint to make their statement.
On Wednesday morning, Giovanna Dibenedetto had her water shut off for an unpaid $90 water bill.
She said she did not receive any notice. She was trying to wash the dishes when the water wouldn't come on that morning.
She then saw a notice on her front door from Illinois American Water, but did not hear a knock to let her know it was there.
Dibenedetto is one of several caregivers of young children who have called Cunningham Township in the past two days asking for help to get the water turned back on.
According to Cunningham Township Supervisor Danielle Chynoweth, a mother of four children called the Township on Tuesday, a week after she had paid a third of her water bill, and her water was still cut off.
"To turn people's water off?" Dibenedetto said. "There was a moratorium for a reason early on. I had to go out and buy hand sanitizer to keep my family safe. This is not the time to do it during a pandemic."
Dibenedetto shared that her situation is hard with a disability, and she is grateful for the help from the Township.
She hopes that no one else has to go through what she has in the past 24 hours, with no water and two children to look after.
According to Illinois American Water, they choose to hold off on reinstating late fees until September.
This means a customer with an unresolved past due balance will see a late fee applied to their August service(s).
Reinstatement of shutoff procedures for nonpayment would begin in October.
The company is extending the moratorium on shutoffs for low-income customers and those experiencing financial hardship.
The company encourages customers to call 800-422-2782 for assistance.