Governor Hochul Announces Deployment of Electricity and Gas Utility Bill Credits for Low-Income Families

Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that the vast majority of the $567 million spent on helping low-income electric and gas utility customers pay their past utility bills will be reflected in utility bills. August customers. The financial relief package includes an estimated $557 million statewide COVID-19 bill credit program for low-income customers adopted by the New State Public Service Commission York. Under the Bill Credit Program, the PSC mobilized $250 million from the state budget enacted in fiscal year 2023 to require utilities to provide a one-time credit to customers enrolled in the Accessibility Program energy, which will eliminate unpaid utility bills that have accumulated through May 1, 2022. The program also allows the same relief for all eligible low-income customers who enroll in the EAP by December 31, 2022 .

“I am pleased to announce that the largest low-income utility financial assistance program in state history will be launched on Monday, August 1 – marking a major step forward in the state’s ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers maintain public services,” Governor Hochul said. “No New Yorker should have their lights and air conditioning turned off due to financial problems caused by the pandemic. I applaud the state legislature for its partnership to allocate $250 million to reduce the burden of backlogs of public services, which will be essential in helping vulnerable New Yorkers maintain their public services, especially during these hot summer months.”

Under Governor Hochul, the Civil Service Department, the personnel arm of the PSC, worked with major state utilities to credit customer accounts. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant financial hardship for New Yorkers, especially low-income consumers. Since March 2020, the number of customers more than 60 days past due in their electric and gas utility payments (i.e. late) and the total dollar amount of arrears have reached high levels unprecedented. Credits for low-income customers should be posted to customer accounts beginning August 1, 2022, and consumers can expect to see the credit on their next billing cycle. Credits will be received by the vast majority of low-income customers of major electricity and gas companies on their August bills.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant financial hardship for low-income customers and resulted in business closures and widespread job loss. The number of customers with unpaid utility bills and the total dollar amount of unpaid utility bills has increased significantly since the pandemic began in March 2020, and this bill credit program provides financial relief to customers. most vulnerable homes to help them. prevent their utilities from being terminated for non-payment. More than 327,000 low-income New York households will directly benefit from the program.

Under the Bill Credit Program, all state assistance available for utility bill assistance will be coordinated to ensure maximum benefit to ratepayers and avoid duplication of effort. Unpaid Utility Bill Reduction Program, estimated at $100 million, coupled with $250 million of the New York State Utilities Budget Appropriation to eliminate pandemic-related unpaid utility bills for low-income households. Utilities shareholders provided more than $36 million in taxpayer contributions. The on-bill credit program is estimated to cost major utility customers $181 million after they are awarded their share of the budget credit, and customer credits and shareholder contributions that reduce the cost of the program are applied.

This one-time low-income utility bill credit, which will be applied to the bills of affected utility customers, does not require action by existing low-income customers enrolled in the EAP to receive the benefit. PSEG Long Island and City Utilities received $10.4 million of the $250 million allocated in the budget to be used for the bill credit program for low-income customers. The PSC anticipates a future proposal from consumer groups and stakeholders to address the substantial increase in unpaid electric and gas utility bills for the remaining residential and non-residential customers resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic .

As part of the overall work to reduce unpaid electric and gas utility bills, Governor Hochul recently launched a new initiative between OTDA and major utilities to identify more low-income households to enroll. to the EAP program, which offers utility bill rebates that save households hundreds of dollars a year in utility costs.

Any newly eligible low-income customer who enrolls in the EAP before December 31, 2022 will be included in the bill credit program.

Public Service Commission Chairman Rory M. Christian said: “Governor Hochul has been unwavering in her desire to help consumers. To address this growing problem, the PSC approved measures to strengthen and improve utility energy accessibility programs to reduce the energy load of consumers and meet the needs of low-income customers.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said: “Governor Hochul has made it a priority to provide struggling households with the assistance they need to deal with the challenges caused by the economic effects of the pandemic. We are proud to join in this effort to help paying off utility arrears for tens of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers and ensuring that more low-income households have access to rebates through the Energy Accessibility Program.”

State Senator Roxanne Persaud said: “Many energy-hungry New York taxpayers will breathe a sigh of relief when their utility bills reflect this much-needed help. I’m glad the $250 million we included in this year’s budget was able to provide additional relief. to consumers facing closing-offs and collections.”

Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal said: “Job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by rising inflation, has caused financial stress for many families in New York State. During this year’s budget, we gave the prioritize allocating hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to help families pay back utility bills and get back on their feet.These payments will soon be reversed and I’m glad families are finally starting to feel some relief in coming weeks. Through this program, more than 327,000 low-income households will see their utility arrears reduced or eliminated, relieving a heavy financial burden.”

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