The state Public Service Commission (PSC) has announced New York’s electric and gas utilities are implementing special collection practices for federal workers who have been furloughed, or otherwise, are not getting paid, during the government’s partial shutdown.
“I want to thank New York’s utilities for their prompt response and sensitivity to the growing hardships these families are facing,” said PSC Chairman John Rhodes. Their actions will help ensure, “government workers will not have to worry about keeping their homes warm and their lights on.”
Karen Merkel, spokesperson for National Fuel said, the Amherst-based gas company already has a number of payment assistance programs available for those federal workers struggling to make ends meet.
“The newly unemployed can apply for the Neighbor for Neighbor Heat fund which, if they are eligible, they could get up to $500 for their heating bill. As well, if the shutdown continues, and it continues past the 30-day mark, they then can apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program.”
Merkel added, HEAP assistance is administered through the counties’ Department of Social Services, and can provide another $400 to $500 for families and individuals to keep the heat on.
To apply for National Fuel’s Neighbor-for-Neighbor program, in the Buffalo area, applications are available through the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities.
All of these payment assistance programs offered to the federal workers are also available to other utility customers. If you need help paying your National Fuel gas bill or other assistance, go to National Fuel’s Payment Assistance page.