Service Terminations Between November 1 and May 1 Electric Utilities:
Protection from a winter shutoff is available to low-income electric utility customers byapplying each fall to their electric company for "hardship" status. "Hardship" customers cannot be shut off between November 1 and May 1, even if they owe the company money. If electric service is shut off, the utilitymust turn it back on by November 1, even if the customer is unable to make a payment.
Protection from a winter shutoff is available only to low-income gas heat customers by applyingeach fall to their gas company for "hardship" status. "Hardship" heating customers cannot be shut off between November 1 and May 1, even if they owe the company money. If gas heating service is shut off, whether theutility must turn it back on by November 1 depends on the customer's situation:
If you did not ask to have gas service kept on the prior winter as a "hardship" case,
then the gascompany must turn the gas back on by November 1, even if you are unable to make a payment.
If gas service was not shut off the prior winter because you were a "hardship" case,
then the gascompany does not have to turn your gas back on by November 1 unless you have paid the lowest of thefollowing amounts since the prior November 1: $100 or 20% of the amount you owe when the gas wasshut off (not the amount of the final billing after the shutoff); or the minimum payments under your payment agreement with the utility company.“Hardship” cases include customers who:
Receive certain local, state or federal assistance.
Receive income only from Social Security, Veteran’s or Unemployment Compensation benefits.
Have income that is less than 125% of the federal poverty level.
Are unemployed with household incomes less than 300% of the federal poverty level.
Have a household member who is seriously ill and whose health would be at significant risk if utilitieswere to be shut off
Low-Income Rate Assistance
public service companies are required by statute to operate a past payment forgiveness program for gas heating customers. An arrearage forgiveness program means that some of your back debt (bills)will be forgiven in exchange for making regular payments on your bill. Households are put on a budget plan. Aslong as you make the payments agreed to in the budget plan, your back bills will be erased or forgiven. Your utility bill can be reduced to $0 in the arrearage forgiveness program, but it cannot result in a credit on your account. There are two parts in the arrearage forgiveness program:
the winter program (November 1 to April 30), and
the summer program (May 1 to October 31).
Balances of $100 or more that are 60+ days overdue
Must have income at or less than 200% Federal Poverty Guidelines
Must have had at least $25 paid toward bill by LIHEAP (or other assistance program).