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Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program

Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program

Help with Past Due Utility Bills

Phase 1 Bill Relief Program 

In June 2022, the PSC adopted a statewide program to provide utility bill relief for low-income electric and natural gas utility customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provided a credit for residential low-income customers that were enrolled in their utility’s Energy Affordability Program (EAP). The credit was applied to unpaid balances on customer accounts accrued through May 1, 2022.  The Phase 1 program, which closed on December 31, 2022, provided relief to approximately 311,000 electric and natural gas utility customers.

Phase 2 Bill Relief Program 

The Commission recognized that additional work needed to be done to address the financial need and pandemic related arrears accrued by non-EAP residential customers and small business (non-residential) accounts.  On January 19, 2023, the PSC adopted a second phase of the bill relief program.  Under the program, a credit will be applied to eligible customer accounts for unpaid COVID related balances accrued through May 1, 2022. Approximately 478,000 residential customers and 56,000 small businesses in New York State will receive assistance totaling $672 million.

There is no application necessary to receive this credit. The electric and natural gas utilities have already pre-screened customers’ accounts for financial eligibility and credits will be automatically applied for eligible customers.

Program Eligibility

  • Gas and electric utility customers with unpaid bills for service (arrears) that are:
    • Residential customers that did not receive a Phase 1 arrears credit
    • Small commercial customers 
  • Residential non-EAP customers who were terminated for non-payment in 2022.

Note: EAP customers that received a credit under Phase 1 are not eligible for Phase 2. Additionally, municipal utility customers and customers of other utility service (water, cable, telecommunications) are not included in this program.

The eligibility criteria that were used to determine financial need include:

  • Customers that have received multiple disconnect notices that are unresolved
  • Customers that are in an active deferred payment agreement with their utility
  • Customers coded as either blind, elderly or disabled or a life-support equipment (LSE) user
  • Customers that submitted a financial assistance attestation under the COVID-19 moratorium law (self-certification)

Important Program Dates

  • The Phase 2 Bill Relief program was ordered by the Public Service Commission on January 19, 2023, and will be providing credits on eligible customers’ accounts over the 90 days (through April 19, 2023).  One exception – residential non-EAP customers who had their service terminated in 2022 for non-payment have until June 30, 2023, to reinstate their account.  The arrears credit will be applied after the customer contacts their utility to reestablish service.
  • Residential service terminations for non-payment will be suspended while arrears credits are applied to accounts through March 1, 2023, or 30 days after credits have been applied by the utilities, whichever is later.
  • The arrears relief programs instituted by the Commission in Phase 1 and Phase 2 will conclude after June 30, 2023.  

Additional Program Information

  • The program will be paid for with a 0.5% surcharge on all New York ratepayer utility bills.  For example, the surcharge on a $100.00 bill will be $0.50 (fifty cents). A key goal of the program was to provide meaningful relief, including complete arrears resolution for as many customers as practicable, while limiting overall program costs to ratepayers, to less than the cost of taking no action. 
  • The surcharge will be applied to customer accounts after application of the credit.
  • If a consumer does not receive a credit and believes they should be considered, they should contact their utility directly.

For more information, view Case 20-M-0266.

Phase 2 Order