AARP, PULP PRAISE GOVERNOR HOCHUL AND THE LEGISLATURE’S MAJOR STEP FORWARD TO PROTECT VULNERABLE NEW YORK UTILITY CONSUMERS
The final budget includes $250,000,000 to pay down residential electric and gas utility arrears statewide and another $100,000,000 earmarked for COVID-19 relief
(ALBANY, NY) – Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP New York and Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project (“PULP”) applauded the Governor and state lawmakers for their steadfast leadership and action to extend a lifeline to low- and fixed-income families, and seniors, and other vulnerable New Yorkers in the FY2023 budget process. The final budget included $250,000,000 to pay down residential electric and gas utility arrears statewide, including on Long Island, as well as another $100,000,000 earmarked for COVID-19 relief.
“We sincerely and deeply thank the Governor and Legislature for seizing the moment and taking historic measures to address the tremendous crisis of unpaid bills created by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse. This critical funding extends a lifeline to those who otherwise might be burdened with generational debt due to the massive loss of employment, increased costs, and other unprecedented COVID-related challenges. Inaction was not an option, and thanks to the efforts of the Legislature and Governor to secure these funds, the financial future of the one in five people that live in New York’s financially vulnerable households just got a little brighter.
“Still, the utility affordability crisis afflicting everyday New Yorkers has never been this great, and although these funds will go a long way to pay down incremental arrears due to COVID-19, we urge lawmakers, the Governor, and the Public Service Commission to keep this in mind as we enter the final weeks of the 2022 Legislative Session. AARP and PULP look forward to the work ahead with state leaders and all stakeholders to advance a commonsense plan that puts all of the nearly 1.3 million households behind on their energy bills back on a path to financial stability.”