Gov. Hochul Announces A Massive Bailout For Overdue Utility Bills In New York State
Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that some New York residents and small businesses that have accumulated a huge debt to utility companies will get a major bailout.
All New York utility customers will pay for the bailout
The debt relief will benefit 478,000 residential customers and 56,000 small businesses in New York State. The $672 million bailout will pay off their past-due utility bills. It is the largest utility customer financial assistance program in New York's history. Gov. Hochul said,
Every New Yorker deserves affordable energy, yet too many New Yorkers are at risk of having their lights turned off due to financial problems caused by the pandemic. Earlier this month, I laid out extensive proposals to make energy more affordable in my State of the State address, and with this historic electric and gas utility relief we're achieving another major milestone to help New Yorkers stay warm during the cold winter months.
The $672 million debt-forgiveness program was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission. The funds will provide a one-time credit to residential non-low-income customers and small-commercial customers for debts owed up to May 1, 2022.
The working group proposed a statewide program to resolve all arrears through May 1, 2022, of approximately 75 percent of residential non-low-income and small business customers, and partially resolve arrears for approximately 25 percent of remaining customers via a one-time credit.
Utility customers in New York will see a 0.5 percent increase on their total bill that will end in one to four years.
Heating Assistance Is Available To New Yorkers Who Previously Didn't Qualify
In addition to the $672 million, Governor Hochul also announced $200 million in discounts to more than 800,000 New Yorkers making under $75,000 who did not qualify for the State's current utility discount program.
Low-income residents who are struggling to keep their homes heated can access emergency assistance benefits available from New York State.
If a household is at risk of losing its heat due to a utility shut-off, it could also be eligible for an emergency benefit. The emergency benefits program opened for applications on January 3, 2023. You must meet certain eligibility requirements.
New York residents outside of the City can apply here. NYC residents can apply here. You can get more information about HEAP here.