TRENTON — New Jersey residents who are still behind on their utility bill payments, listen up!

Either apply for state assistance programs or contact the utility to sign up for a payment plan. That is the advice from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso and Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen.

Both appeared at an event at Camden City Hall providing utility customers an opportunity to deal with their mounting bills by signing up for assistance programs onsite with representatives from NJBPU and the State Department of Community Affairs.

“Time is running out for everyone who is behind on their utility bills to make arrangements before their service is disconnected,” Fiordaliso said.

Those with overdue balances who apply for an assistance program by June 14 will not have their service disconnected while their application is pending, he added.

Residents may also contact their utility to set up a payment plan.

“No family deserves to be without power or water. I urge all residents who need utility assistance to apply for an assistance program or sign up for a payment plan by June 14,” Carstarphen said.

Legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in March provides certain shut-off protections to electric, gas, water, and sewer customers who file for such assistance by the due date.

The legislation also requires all utilities to offer a 12-month, no money down, interest-free payment plan to customers before disconnecting service or imposing liens of non-payment of arrearages that have accrued before Dec. 31 of last year.

Statewide, there are more than 903,000 residential gas and electric customers who collectively owe more than $700 million, much of which is a result of economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who would like to apply for assistance can visit www.energyassistance.nj.gov for detailed program information.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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