BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A major utility company in Western New York is resuming service shutoffs and late fees, after many of them were put on pause during the pandemic.

NYSEG says if you’re late or delinquent on your power bill — the power company says they want to hear from you to come up with a payment plan, in order to keep your service on.

When COVID hit three years ago, NYSEG greatly reduced disconnections and referrals to collections for past due power bills. Disconnections also were not happening during the winter months and late fees also weren’t added to many customers bills.

But, NYSEG says starting this week, disconnections and referrals to collections are resuming.

Late fees resumed well over a month ago.

NYSEG says your power will be shutoff if you don’t respond.

“Any residential customers experiencing difficulty paying their utility bill should call Customer Service to inquire about assistance and options, only if customers take no action after receiving multiple bills, calls, and notices will they face disconnection,” said Shelby Cohen, a spokesperson for NYSEG.

But, NYSEG says there are programs and repayment options that are available if you need assistance.

According to a collections report submitted last month to New York’s Public Service Commission — 116,000 residential NYSEG customers were more than 60 days past due — accounting for more than $58 million in unpaid power bills.

But that’s across NYSEG’s service map, and doesn’t just include Western New York.

“While only a small percentage of the company’s customers state-wide have a debt that is more than 60 days past due the amount of this debt totals more than $180 million across NYSEG and RG&E,” Cohen said, “The burden of unpaid balances is shared by all rate payers and that’s why it’s important for us to be able to perform our collections process, so the burden of that debt is spread out across all ratepayers across the state.”

There are special accommodations that can be made for life support customers.

NYSEG says that utility companies across the state resumed their collections this week.

National Grid has not made such announcement and still offers assistance programs that have been offered throughout the pandemic.

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.