Requests for help paying utility bills always rise in the fall. In 2020, that increase came earlier and rose higher than usual. We examined 712,608 utility assistance requests received by 2-1-1s serving 30 states, from January 5th to October 17, 2020, and compared them to 522,862 utility assistance requests received by the same 2-1-1s on the same dates in 2019. In 2019 (orange line on chart), utility requests increased by roughly 25% in the first week of September and stayed elevated through late October. This seasonal increase can be seen every year in 2-1-1 data, and has been attributed to summer cooling bills that are put off until utility companies’ grace period ends and disconnection notices are issued. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (blue line on chart), the annual fall increase appears to begin in mid-August, three full weeks earlier than usual. Moreover, there is a late July peak in 2020 that corresponds with the expiration date of utility disconnection bans put in place in many communities. Overall, we found that after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, utility requests have been 45% higher in 2020 compared to 2019. Data come from 2-1-1 Counts. Mouse over each line to see weekly request totals.