March 16, 2023
The Winter Termination Program has prevented electric, gas, and water utility companies from shutting off New Jersey residents' utilities due to nonpayment since November 2022. That moratorium officially ended on March 15, 2023, potentially exposing many New Jerseyans to utility shutoffs.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) urges New Jersey residents to apply for a number of utility assistance programs to help with past-due utility bills.
Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso was quoted on njspotlightnews.com saying, "Whether it's your water utility, your electric utility, your gas utility - call them. They are willing to help. They are willing to set up a payment plan. They are willing to steer you in the direction where you can get assistance, if you qualify."
Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the DCA, was quoted in a DCA release saying, "we urge people who need help paying their heating, water, and sewer bills to apply for assistance . . . Moderate-income households are also eligible for assistance as a result of increases in federal income limits. Therefore, if you are behind on your utility bills, don't hesitate to reach out to DCA. Significant funding is available and we want to help New Jersey families pay their bills."
Among the assistance programs available are the following:
- The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Households can visit the DCAid portal at http://www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid to submit applications for LIHWAP, LIHEAP, and other assistance programs. The DCAid portal has a tool for people to check what other benefits for which they may qualify. People who do not have access to computers or the internet can call 1-800-510-3102 to be directed to community action agencies partnering with DCA to assist them with starting, completing, and submitting applications online. A list of the community organizations providing such assistance is available on the DCA website here.
LIHWAP and LIHEAP applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and assistance is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, individuals should not wait to apply.
Click here to access the relevant release from DCA for more information.