On Wednesday, March 3, Governor Murphy announced the extension of the statewide utility shut-off moratorium. NJ Citizen Action and the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ release the following statement on utility support for hard-hit New Jerseyans:
New Jersey Citizen Action and the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey applaud today’s announcement by Governor Murphy to extend the utility shut-off moratorium through June 30th. The financial harm of the pandemic has caused over $700,000 in gas, electric and water utility arears for over 1.2 million customers. As advocates and state leaders continue to work on solutions to this crisis we must protect those residents, including disproportionately impacted Black and Brown people, from further financial distress. By extending the moratorium, more residential and commercial customers will have life-sustaining utility service.
“Governor Murphy’s announcement extending the utility shut-off moratorium is welcome news for the million or so residential utility customers who are struggling to meet all their basic needs,” said Renee Koubiadis, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey. “Ensuring continued access to these critical resources is needed to avoid further distress to families across our state.”
The moratorium that was expanded on October 15, 2020 includes no shut-offs for water, gas, electric, water services and internet for customers with school-aged children. Any shut-offs that have occurred must be immediately restored to service with no fees.
The Anti-Poverty Network, New Jersey Citizen Action and other partners urge the Governor and Legislature to take meaningful action to protect utility customers and ensure state residents have access to all necessary utilities throughout the public health emergency and recovery. Specifically, we ask them to gather more comprehensive data on the extent of the utility crisis, prohibit late or other fees to New Jersey residents impacted by the health and economic crises, expand eligibility of assistance programs and ensure they are available for all utilities, and improve public outreach and education on program availability.
New Jersey Citizen Action is a statewide advocacy and social service organization that advocates for social, racial and economic justice for all while also meeting the pressing needs of low and moderate income New Jerseyans through education and direct service.