AARP and PULP Call on Governor Cuomo to Prohibit Utility Shutoffs While Moratorium Extension Bill is Pending

Posted on 03/26/21

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Without action, gas, electric and water shutoffs would begin next week as New Yorkers continue to struggle with economic effects of COVID-19

ALBANY—AARP New York and the Public Utility Law Project today urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to protect the state’s residential utility customers and ensure they continue to receive essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic as the Legislature prepares to pass an extender next week.

According to the New York State Public Service Commission, the current moratorium on utility shutoffs will expire this Sunday, March 28, paving the way for utility companies to terminate service to customers behind on their energy, water and telephone bills.

The Department of Public Service recently reported more than 1.2 million residential electric and gas customers across the state were more than 60 days past due paying their utility bills, with arrears in February 2021 swelling to more than $1.22 billion, a 73% increase since the beginning of the pandemic in February of 2020.

A statement from AARP and PULP follows:

Our organizations strongly urge the Governor to stop utility shutoffs from occurring as the Public Service Commission has indicated will happen on March 29th.

AARP and PULP support policies in the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal and pending state legislation to extend the moratorium until December 31, 2021, as New Yorkers continue to struggle with the economic effects of COVID-19.

We urge the Governor and the Public Service Commission to halt all terminations while the Legislature passes a bill to extend the shutoff moratorium when both chambers return to session on March 30, and we ask the Governor to sign the extension into law as soon as possible.

Our leaders must protect residential utility customers and ensure they continue to receive essential services during these challenging times.

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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARPNY on social media.

The Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. (“PULP”) is a nonprofit public interest law firm with the mission of educating, advocating and litigating on behalf of low- and fixed-income utility consumers in matters affecting affordability, universal service, and consumer protection. Learn more at www.utilityproject.org, or www.facebook.com/utilityproject, and follow us on Twitter @utilityproject. Learn about your utility rights during this pandemic at bit.ly/pulp-covid-19.

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