Winter Termination Program Ends March 15
Winter Termination Program Ends March 15
NJBPU and NJDCA Encourage Utility Customers to Resolve Overdue Gas and Electric Bills to Avoid Service Disruptions
TRENTON, N.J.—The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) are encouraging residents to bring their utility bills up to date before the Winter Termination Program (WTP) ends on March 15. The WTP is an annual program that prevents utility shutoff for eligible customers during the cold winter months. Additionally, utility assistance programs and utility payment plans are available to help customers remain current on their bill payments or pay down overdue balances.
“The NJBPU and NJDCA can help New Jerseyans avoid having their electric, gas, water or sewer service shut off after the winter season ends,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Customers who cannot pay their bills in full need to enroll in utility assistance programs before March 15th, or they could face service disruptions.”
“WTP covers water and sewer bills along with electric and gas utility bills through March 15th, but applying for assistance programs takes time, so I encourage everyone to apply for help now so they don’t receive a shut off notice or experience disconnection after March 15.”
If you need help with your utility bills, call 2-1-1 or go to www.nj.gov/bpu/assistance/programs/ [nj.gov] for information about how to apply for the available programs, or contact your utility to set up a payment plan.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of applying for utility assistance before the March 15 deadline,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who also serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The State is here to assist residents with paying past due bills. The process is easy and only takes a few minutes to see if you are eligible.” The NJDCA has implemented a Winter Termination Program for customers of local and municipal utility authorities, also.
Customers in the WTP program should pay what they can each month to avoid a large overdue balance at the end of WTP. For more information about WTP call NJBPU at: 1-800-624-0241.
Households can visit the DCAid portal at www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid [nj.gov] to submit one online application for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Universal Service Fund (USF) program.
People who do not have access to computers or the internet can call 1-800-510-3102 to be directed to one of the community action agencies partnering with NJDCA to assist them with starting, completing, and submitting an application online. A list of the community organizations providing such assistance is available at: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/agencydirectorylist.html [nj.gov].
LIHEAP provides annual heating grants, emergency grants to prevent service disconnection and medically necessary cooling grants. LIHEAP applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and assistance is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so applicants should not wait to apply. The LIHEAP application deadline is June 30, 2023.
NJDCA also administers the LIHWAP program, which provides financial assistance to low-income households to reduce the balances they have on their residential water and wastewater bills. The benefits are paid directly to water and wastewater companies on behalf of residential customers. The LIHWAP program is actively accepting applications until funds run out. Participants in the LIHEAP program are automatically eligible for LIHWAP assistance as long as they are water/wastewater bill holders. A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the LIHWAP program are on NJDCA’s website here.
Customers need to contact their utility to request the protection of the WTP. Customers who are eligible for Winter Termination Program protection include:
- Recipients of benefits under the Lifeline Credit Program;
- Recipients of benefits LIHEAP program;
- Recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF);
- Recipients of Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Recipients of Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD);
- Recipients of General Assistance (GA) benefits;
- Recipients of the Universal Service Fund (USF); or
- Persons unable to pay their utility bills because of circumstances beyond their control. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, unemployment, illness, medically related expenses, recent death of an immediate family member, and any other circumstances that might cause financial hardship.
About the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU)
NJBPU is a state agency and regulatory authority mandated to ensure safe, adequate and proper utility services at reasonable rates for New Jersey customers. Critical services regulated by NJBPU include natural gas, electricity, water, wastewater, telecommunications and cable television. The Board has general oversight and responsibility for monitoring utility service, responding to consumer complaints, and investigating utility accidents. To find out more about NJBPU, visit our website at www.nj.gov/bpu [nj.gov].
About the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA)
NJDCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, disaster recovery and mitigation, and information privacy. For more information about NJDCA, visit http://nj.gov/dca/ [nj.gov]