Starting Today, Low-Income New York Households will Receive Credits Towards Unpaid Utility Bills
By Yehudit Garmaise
When utility bills arrive in mailboxes across New York in August, more than 327,000 low-income residents will see that they have received one-time credits that have paid off their past unpaid utility bills, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.
Since March 2020, the number of customers who remain more than 60 days behind in their electric and gas utility payments has skyrocketed.
"I am pleased to announce that the largest low-income utility financial assistance program in the state's history rolls out on Monday, August 1: marking a major step forward in the state's ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers maintain utility services," Gov, Hochul said. "No New Yorker should have his or her lights and air conditioning shut off as a result of financial problems caused by the pandemic.”
The state’s Energy Affordability Program has provided $567 million to pay off any unpaid utility bills that accrued through May 1, 2022, and the forgiveness program will be reflected on customers' August bills, the governor said.
While most of the funds for the financial assistance program came from a statewide COVID-19 bill credit program for low-income customers adopted by the New York State Public Service Commission, the state legislature also leveraged $250 million from that state’s 2023 budget to require utilities to provide a one-time credit to customers who are enrolled in the Energy Affordability Program (EAP).
The program also authorizes the same relief for any eligible low-income customers who enroll in EAP by December 31, 2022.