Translator Disclaimers
For Immediate Release: Contact: Peter Peretzman
Date: 02/4/2021 609-900-5626
Trenton, N.J.—The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has scheduled three virtual public meetings on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on utility bill arrearages, or bills that are past-due. In October, Governor Phil Murphy extended the moratorium on residential utility shutoffs for electric, gas, and both public and private water utility service through March 15, 2021. The upcoming meetings will allow the Board to receive input from both stakeholders and utility customers on the volume of outstanding utility bills, whether existing assistance programs are sufficient, and potential ways to address the arrearages.


“Many New Jerseyans are facing serious economic hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including outstanding bills for critical utility services,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “It is important that we hear directly from utility customers and stakeholders so we can provide appropriate solutions for unpaid bills and alleviate the pressures that have been building on ratepayers.”


The first public meeting is a stakeholder meeting scheduled for February 8. The purpose of this meeting is to allow for informal discussion regarding the growing size and number of utility bill arrearages and potential rate impacts of the extended moratorium.


Areas of discussion on February 8 will include:


  • What data is needed to help determine the impact of the pandemic on customers’ ability to pay outstanding utility bills?
  • Are existing assistance programs sufficient to meet the needs of customers who are unable to pay their current utility bills?
  • What steps are necessary to address the arrearages caused by the pandemic?
  • What mechanisms and timelines are appropriate for the implementation of plans to address these issues?


The Board will also conduct two public hearings on February 25 to solicit comments on the appropriateness of any additional Board action to protect New Jersey ratepayers relative to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 190 and the Board’s October 28, 2020 Order. These public hearings will give the Board an opportunity to hear directly from interested parties and the public on the impact of the pandemic on customers’ ability to pay bills, the sufficiency of existing assistance programs, and any further action that may be necessary.


Comments for both public comment periods are due to the Board by 5:00 p.m. on March 1, 2021 by following the instructions in each Public Notice.


Following the public comment periods, the Board will review the feedback received and use it in determining how to proceed and whether to take additional action.


Utility bill assistance programs are available from NJBPU and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, and from the utility companies.


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