New York is urged to pay public’s ballooning utility debt

New York is urged to pay public’s ballooning utility debt

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — At least 1.4 million households and other residential customers are behind on electric and gas bills in New York, and consumer advocates are calling on the state to pay off ballooning debt with federal funding. New York passed the nation’s most sweeping utility shut-off moratorium. It expired Dec. 21 and protected heating, water, cable and telephone customers. New York restricts utilities from shutting off heat and electricity until April 15. But scores of residents in New York could face heat and electricity shut-offs in coming months. Groups ranging from the AARP to Public Utility Law Project are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to dedicate $1.25 billion in this year’s budget for unpaid energy bills, and $400 million for water bills.

Photo: FILE – A utility crew works to restore power to houses in the Woodhaven section of the Queens borough of New York, following a storm, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)