11/19/20 | News

Legislation aims to help residential customers with unexpected increases and penalties during public health emergencies.

OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Senator Gopal’s legislation passed with amendments through the Senate Economic Growth Committee this week. Bill S2325 prohibits utility service rate increases, penalties and discontinuances to residential customers during certain public health emergencies. These prohibitions and service restoration requirements are to remain in effect for the duration of, and 180 days following, a major public health emergency.

During the major public health emergency, the bill also requires public utilities, municipal utilities, and local authorities to offer affordable payment plans, of at least 24 month duration and with no
down payment requirement, to customers with overdue payment balances and to inform those customers of their rights and refer them to payment assistance programs.

“This legislation is not only important, but in many cases critical to the well being of our residents during these challenging times of living through a global health and economic crisis,” Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) said. “S2325 will help support our residents who are currently struggling – to make sure no one ends up in a predicament where the lights are shut off on them.”

The amendments to this bill clarify that service must be restored to customers with service disconnections during the major public health emergency and who still reside in the units.

This bill was released from the Economic Growth Committee with a vote of 5-0.