The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has scheduled three virtual public meetings on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on utility bill arrearages, or bills that are past-due. In October, Gov. Phil Murphy extended the moratorium on residential utility shutoffs for electric, gas, and both public and private water utility service through March 15, 2021. The upcoming meetings will allow the Board to receive input from both stakeholders and utility customers on the volume of outstanding utility bills, whether existing assistance programs are sufficient, and potential ways to address the arrearages.
The first public meeting was a stakeholder meeting on February 8. It allowed for informal discussion regarding the growing size and number of utility bill arrearages and potential rate impacts of the extended moratorium.
The Board will also conduct two public hearings on February 25 to solicit comments on the appropriateness of any additional Board action to protect New Jersey ratepayers relative to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order No. 190 and the Board’s October 28, 2020 Order. These public hearings will give the Board an opportunity to hear directly from interested parties and the public on the impact of the pandemic on customers’ ability to pay bills, the sufficiency of existing assistance programs, and any further action that may be necessary.
Comments for both public comment periods are due to the Board by 5 p.m. on March 1, 2021 by following the instructions in each Public Notice.
Following the public comment periods, the Board will review the feedback received and use it in determining how to proceed and whether to take additional action.
Utility bill assistance programs are available from NJBPU and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, and from the utility companies.
For further information contact Peter Peretzman at 609-900-5626 or firstname.lastname@example.org