Tell Your Elected Representatives: Stop Utility Shut Offs During the COVID-19 Pandemic & Suspend Utility Rate Increases

The ability to maintain safe, affordable, and reliable utility services, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, telecommunications, and high-speed internet service is critical to the health and safety and the ability for people to stay engaged with work, education, and loved ones while preventing spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is especially important for older New Jerseyans who are most vulnerable to the virus and those who are already struggling to make ends meet.

New Jersey’s current voluntary moratorium on electric, gas and water shut-offs will end on October 15, 2020. Consumers who have been hard hit with both the health and financial crises of the COVID-19 pandemic will start to receive shut-off notices. Utilities that are not regulated by the NJ Board of Public Utilities, including municipal water utilities and authorities serving 60% of the state, are also free to resume shutoffs. 

Many of the more than one million residents who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been unable to afford to pay their utility bills in order to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table and/or afford medicine. Hundreds of thousands of fixed, low and moderate income utility customers are at risk of having their utilities shut off.  And despite the current crisis, the utility industry wants to hike rates by billions of dollars. 

Tell your elected representatives: Stop Utility Shut-Offs During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Suspend Utility Rate Increases.

 

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Stop Utility Shut Offs During the COVID-19 Pandemic & Suspend Utility Rate Increases

Dear [Decision Maker],

The ability to maintain safe, affordable, and reliable utility services, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, telecommunications, and high-speed internet service is critical to the health and safety and the ability for people to stay engaged with work, education, and loved ones while preventing spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is especially important for older New Jerseyans who are most vulnerable to the virus and those who are already struggling to make ends meet.

New Jersey's current voluntary moratorium on electric, gas and water shut-offs will end on October 15, 2020.

Many of the more than one million residents who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been unable to afford to pay their utility bills in order to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table and/or afford medicine. Hundreds of thousands of fixed, low and moderate income utility customers are at risk of having their utilities shut off. And despite the current crisis, the utility industry wants to hike rates by billions of dollars.

I urge you to act immediately to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans during the COVID-19 pandemic and enact a moratorium on utility shut offs during this public health and financial crisis and suspend utility bill increases. I urge you to support:

A4678 - Prohibits certain utilities and authorities from discontinuing utility services, increasing rates and assessing late or restoration fees or charges during and within 180 days after major public health emergency.

A4671 - Requires public and local utilities to provide notice to residential customers of available relief measures during coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

A4677 - Requires certain utilities to allow residential customers to satisfy outstanding balances over time.

Please act now to protect the health and safety of New Jersey residents.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]