Justice Alerted: End is imminent for utilities shut-off moratoriums

Moratoriums on utilities shut offs imposed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic are scheduled to end soon, raising the possibility that thousands of customers could lose services.

In New Jersey, the moratorium, already extended once, is scheduled to end Thursday, Oct. 15. Although state officials are in negotiations with utilities about the moratorium, nothing official has yet been announced.

Customers with unpaid bills are encouraged to contact their utility companies to make payment arrangements or get information on assistance programs.

In Pennsylvania, utilities will be allowed to resume shut-offs of non-paying customers on Nov. 9.

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission’s order will still prohibit utilities from shutting off “protected customers,” defined as customers whose income is not more than 3 times the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

However, protected customers must contact their utility companies to apply for available assistance programs and request a payment arrangement to pay down their debt.

Clients who are unable to enter into payment plans with their utility companies, should contact the AIDS Law Project for assistance.