AskPSC is a collection of information to help consumers in New York State make informed decisions regarding their utility services.
Affordability and Discount Programs
A critical function of the New York State Public Service Commission is to ensure safe, secure and reliable service at just and reasonable rates. The programs below help income-eligible consumers save money on their utility bills.
Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant financial hardship for New Yorkers, particularly low-income consumers. Since March 2020, the number of customers more than 60 days behind in their electric and gas utility payments (i.e., in arrears) and the total dollar amount of arrears to unprecedented levels.
Energy Affordability Program
The Public Service Commission established a statewide low-income bill discount program for major electric and gas investor-owned utilities. These discounts help customers move towards a lower energy burden.
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a Federal Communication Commission program that helps families and households struggling to afford internet service needed for work, school, healthcare and more. This page provides information on program benefits such as monthly discounts on broadband services, eligibility criteria and enrollment procedures.
Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service
New York State Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service is an assistance program offered by many telephone providers, including some wireless and cable companies, to help income-eligible consumers save money on their phone bills.
Here you will find information on the 2022-23 winter pricing forecast and the resources available to help consumers manage their energy usage and related bills, consumer protections, and tips for staying safe this winter season.
Managing Utility Costs
Whether you own your own home or rent an apartment, there are steps you can take to control your energy use and manage your energy bills. This page provides information on controlling your energy costs - including simple no-cost or low-cost measures to cut your energy use.
Your energy costs are made up of two factors: the cost of the energy product and the amount of the energy you use. No matter where prices go or what the season is like, you can make the most of your energy dollars by taking basic steps to reduce your usage. The less energy you use in your home, the more you will save.
Energy Saving Tips
- Insulate your home
- Seal air leaks around windows, doors and foundations
- Adjust your thermostat settings
- Follow other simple and affordable steps outlined in our Tips for Efficiency checklist.
Energy Efficiency Programs
In addition to low-cost or no-cost steps you can do yourself, there are programs available through several government agencies and New York's major energy utilities to make energy efficiency improvements to your home or business. These improvements will help lower your energy use and make energy bills more affordable. There are also programs to help low income customers with energy efficiency solutions. For details about their programs, contact:
- NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers financial assistance and energy efficiency improvement programs.
- NYS Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR) oversees the New York’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
Home Energy Assessment
One of the things that you can do to control your bill is to find out where you are losing energy and money. You can conduct an energy audit of your home or apartment that will help show where problems exist and how they can be corrected.
- Professional Assessments: New York State agencies and some utilities offer home energy assessments at little to no cost. A licensed contractor will come to your home and evaluate your lighting, heating, cooling equipment and appliances, and offer energy-saving recommendations. With some programs the contractor will install energy-saving items at no charge, including LED bulbs, smart power strips and more.
- New York Statewide Programs: Visit NYSERDA's Home Energy Audits web page.
- Utility Programs: Contact your utility to see if it offers a home energy assessment.
- NYS Electric and Natural Gas Utilities offer a variety of energy efficiency programs to help their customers reduce their energy use. Contact your utility and ask about its available programs.
- Do-It-Yourself Assessments: There are many do-it-yourself audits available on-line, such as the US Department of Energy’s on-line Energy-and Cost- Savings Calculators to identify ways to save energy in your home. You can also conduct a do it yourself energy audit.
Bill Payment Assistance Programs
You or someone you know may need financial help with your energy costs. Various bill payment options and financial assistance programs are available.
Contact your utility to learn more about their payment assistance programs including:
- Budget Plans - which provide equal monthly payments.
- Deferred Payment Agreements - which may be available if you have fallen behind on your bill and cannot pay in full.
Financial Assistance Programs
Federal and local programs are available to help consumers with their energy costs from the following sources:
Contact your county's Department of Social Services or Office for Aging to learn about assistance programs such as the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), a federally funded program that provides grants to help low-income consumers pay for their energy costs. Additional information regarding the HEAP program and eligibility can be found at the HEAP website or visit myBenefits website to prescreen and apply for programs you may be eligible for.
Important HEAP Dates
- Regular Benefit component opened November 1, 2022 and is scheduled to operate through March 15, 2023.
- Emergency component opens January 3, 2023 and will operate through March 15, 2023.
- Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement component opens October 1, 2021 and is scheduled to operate through September 30, 2022.
- Clean and Tune benefit opens October 3, 2022 and will operate through September 29, 2023.
- Cooling Assistance component opens May 1, 2023 and is scheduled to operate through August 31, 2023.
All benefit component dates may be shortened or extended depending on demand and available funding.
Consumer Rights and Protections
Customers of electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and cable TV service have rights, protections, and responsibilities.
Listed below are the New York State Consolidated Laws for each of the utility services.
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Recent News and Announcements
- KCE NY 2, LLC (KCE) Petition: Case 22-E-0488
Virtual Public Statement Hearing to be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. for the petition filed by KCE seeking a certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Commission.
- New 363 Area Code for Nassau County Case 21-C-0473
The New York State Public Service Commission announced that residential, business and wireless customers within the existing 516 Nassau County area code region should begin to prepare for the introduction of the new 363 area code, beginning the second quarter of 2023.
- New 624 Area Code for Western New York Case 21-C-0358
The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) announced that residential, business and wireless customers within the existing 716 area code region should begin to prepare for the introduction of the new 624 area code, as early as the second quarter of 2024.
- New 329 Area Code for Mid Hudson Region Case 21-C-0600
The New York State Public Service Commission announced that residential, business and wireless customers within the existing 845 area code region should begin to prepare for the introduction of the new 329 area code, as early as the third quarter of 2023.
- Clean Energy Standard Case 15-E-0302
Information about New York's initiative to develop a Clean Energy Standard (CES) and to meet the State Energy Plan mandates.
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