(Camden, NJ) – On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation to extend the utility shutoff grace period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this legislation, the shutoff grace period date for water and sewer customers has been moved from Dec. 31, 2021 to March 15, 2022.
“Based on where we are right now, with expanding caseloads, this extension makes sense for the state and our region,” Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said. “So many residents have struggled with their finances over the last two years and this legislation offers them time and flexibility to keep their services up and running.”
The legislation also extends the payment plan provisions requiring all utilities to offer a 12-month, no down payment, interest-free payment plan to customers prior to disconnecting service or imposing liens for non-payment of arrearages that had accrued since the beginning of the public health emergency.
Additionally, the legislation requires the state Department of Community Affairs to establish a Winter Termination Program for customers of water, sewer and electric, municipal utilities and local authorities, and requires the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to include water and sewer public utilities in its existing Winter Termination Program.
These programs, which will take effect for the 2022-2023 winter season, will protect customers who are eligible for certain public assistance programs or are unable to pay their bills due circumstances beyond their control from utility disconnections.
“No one should have to go without critical services like water or electricity this winter,” Cappelli said. “If you or a family member is impacted by a possible disconnection call your utility provider today.”