Moratorium on utility shutoffs to end July 1; grace period to run through Dec. 31

Gov. Phil Murphy says he will sign an executive order ending a prohibition on utility shutoffs aimed at helping people whose incomes took a hit because of COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Jun 15, 2021, 9:13 AM

Updated 1,040 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy says he will sign an executive order ending a prohibition on utility shutoffs aimed at helping people whose incomes took a hit because of COVID-19.
The governor said on Monday that the moratorium will end on July 1, but a “grace period” will remain in place until Dec. 31. That means there will be no shutoffs before then. Murphy also said the extra time will give people a chance to enroll in a payment plan, if needed.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to work with their utility provider on payment options that will ensure these vital and in some cases life-preserving services that they be maintained. We fully expect every utility company to work with their customers in good faith,” Murphy said.
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The end of the moratorium is a concern to many New Jersey residents who have been having a hard time paying their electric bills during the pandemic. But the utility companies do have some payment assistance plans.
“I pay a certain amount and they pay the rest and I’m good. I do that every month,” says Kendell Woolridge, a single father of two.
Woolridge says that the financial aid he is already getting from PSE&G allows him to cover other costs and better provide for his children.
“It helps me get more food for them, buy different things for them and help me out doing the right thing for them,” he says.
PSE&G says that the pandemic has doubled the need for its payment assistance program and flexible payment options. They have been promoting their recovery resources on the company’s website and at in-person events. Company representatives are encouraging customers to get the help they need to get caught up on their bills before it is too late.
The governor also said that existing prohibitions on shutoffs for seniors and vulnerable populations during the winter months will allow some to extend the grace period until mid-March of 2022.
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The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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