Utility shut off moratorium expires Thursday unless Cuomo signs

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FILE – In this Nov. 26, 2018, file photo, A PG&E lineman works to repair a power line in fire-ravaged Paradise, California on November 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A statewide utility shutdown moratorium is set to expire on Thursday. An extension to the moratorium has passed both the New York State Assembly and Senate, and now it’s awaiting a signature from embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“This health emergency has left many New Yorkers unemployed and caused serious financial hardship for countless families,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “This legislation will ensure that no one has to worry about having critical utility services terminated during this difficult time because of an inability to pay.”

The extension bans utility providers—electric, gas, telephone, water, and cable and broadband—from shutting down service to delinquent accounts. The new end date for the moratorium would be when the COVID state of emergency is lifted or expires, or December 31, 2021—whichever is later. For those with financial hardship due to COVID, there is an additional 180-day grace period that goes beyond the expiration date.

The bill—S.1453-B/A.6225-A—would also guarantee customers the right to negotiate payment plans without fees or penalties and adopts new protections for small businesses.

The Assembly passed the legislation on Wednesday, a few hours before the current moratorium will expire. If Cuomo does not sign the bill quickly, economically struggling New Yorkers could lose essential services like water, power, and heat.

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