In light of the coronavirus pandemic, electric companies in the state said Friday they are temporarily suspending shut-offs of electric or gas service to residential customers for non-payment, effective immediately.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced Friday that the state’s public electric and gas utilities – Newark-based Public Service Electric and Gas, Atlantic City Electric and Jersey Central Power & Light – have universally agreed to suspend service shutoffs given the statewide public health emergency and the effort currently underway in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At a moment in time when protecting residents’ health and safety is of paramount importance, and especially when many are following guidance to practice ‘social distancing’ and spend more time at home, we must ensure that utility services are maintained to all residents,” NJBPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said. “Waiving utility service disconnects is a way we can look out for each other, ensure every resident’s well-being, and continue strengthening Governor Murphy’s vision of a stronger and fairer New Jersey. I thank the utilities for coming together with us today to help achieve exactly that.”
PSE&G hopes to alleviate customers’ concerns about electric or gas service during this time when they may experience financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, whether they or a family member falls ill, are required to quarantine, or because their income is otherwise affected.
New Jersey customers experiencing such financial difficulty should contact PSE&G via MyAccount or by calling 1-800-357-2262 to enter into a deferred payment arrangement.”
This policy will be in place through the end of April. PSE&G will evaluate the continued need at that time.
Atlantic City Electric is taking steps to expand awareness of the programs in place to help customers through temporary or extended financial hardship. It is suspending service disconnections, already in place as part of the Winter Termination Program, and waiving new late payment fees through at least May 1.
Atlantic City Electric will also work with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements and identify energy assistance options.
Jersey Central Power & Light is taking the same measure.
“To protect customers from the challenges of living without electricity and to limit interactions between our employees and the general public, effective March 13, all FirstEnergy operating companies have discontinued service shutoffs for past-due customers,” Aaron Ruegg, supervisor of state communications at FirstEnergy Corp., the owner of JCP&L, told NJBIZ. “We will monitor the COVID-19 situation and adjust our policy as circumstances develop.”