AARP New Jersey Applauds Governor Murphy and NJ Legislature for Enacting Bill to Protect Consumers from Utility Shutoffs
Statement from AARP New Jersey Director of Advocacy Evelyn Liebman
TRENTON, NJ (March 25, 2022) – “AARP New Jersey applauds Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature for enacting legislation (S2356/A3671) today that will protect thousands of residents who are at risk of having their utilities disconnected now that the moratorium on shutoffs has ended, but who are eligible for assistance to help pay their bills and make them more affordable.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused extreme financial stress for many New Jersey residents, particularly older residents living on low, moderate and fixed incomes. An unprecedented number of families have been impacted and hundreds of thousands of residential gas, electric and water customers are struggling to pay utility bills.
“New Jersey’s moratorium on utility shutoffs expired on March 15, leaving too many vulnerable to losing their services and putting their health and safety at risk even though they qualify for assistance. This new legislation will provide protection from having service disconnected for the thousands of consumers who are in the process of applying for assistance.
“The ability to maintain safe, affordable, and reliable utility services is critical for health and safety. Residents who apply for assistance shouldn’t be penalized for the gap between March 15 and their application approval.
“A number of utility assistance programs, which AARP New Jersey fought for, have only recently been established or expanded. This gives the public a much needed grace period to learn about the programs and have their applications processed.
“Throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration and the Legislature’s efforts have been critical to keeping the lights on, staying warm in the winter, cool in the summer and keeping the water running for hundreds of thousands of residents. AARP New Jersey applauds the continuation of these efforts to ensure residents have access to essential lifeline services.”
About AARP New Jersey
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP New Jersey educates and advocates on behalf of those 50 and older on issues that are important to them, their families and to all Garden State residents. The organization works to strengthen New Jersey communities with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/nj or follow @AARPNJ on social media.