PSE&G urges customers with outstanding bills to enroll in payment assistance programs
The COVID-19-related utility moratorium grace period will be over in one month. This means that those who cannot pay their utility bills could have their power turned off. But there is help.
PSE&G is reporting an unprecedented number of customers who are behind on their bills because of the pandemic.
News 12 New Jersey met one customer who walked into a customer service center to pay what she could of her bill, and walked out with financial assistance.
“I was more afraid of getting stuck in the dark,” says Michele Lewis, of Trenton.
Lewis says she was overwhelmed by bills a few months ago and a $500 balance built up on her PSE&G bill.
“Even though I was putting little by little on it, I couldn’t catch up all the way because I was consistently getting the new bill coming in. It was a little out of control,” Lewis says.
But a stop at the customer service center in Trenton to make a partial payment led Lewis to the help she needed to get back in control of her finances.
“A security guard here was nice enough and kind enough to inform me about the page program,” Lewis says.
She is now enrolled in the Universal Service Fund, which covers part of her monthly bill, and the Fresh Start Program, which forgives her old balance.
With the utility grace period ending on March 15, PSE&G is trying to get more customers signed up for these and other programs before it is too late.
“We encourage everyone to look at your bill and if you have a balance, reach out to us so we can connect you to those payment assistance programs available for everyone,” says PSE&G spokeswoman Rebecca Mazzarella.
“The resources are there and you want to take advantage of and utilize them, so you aren't stuck in the cold or stuck in the dark during these winter months and hot in the summer months," Lewis says.
Once the grace period ends, PSE&G says it will start to shut off the power. This is why they are reaching out to customers now to inform them of their options. Other utility companies are also offering similar programs.