Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Tuesday to extend a moratorium that prevents utility companies from disconnecting utilities to residential households and small businesses struggling with their bills because of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The moratorium is extended for a period of 180 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted or 180 days after Dec. 31, whichever is earlier.
Utility companies must instead offer these customers a deferred payment agreement without fees or penalties on any past-due balance. This legislation will expand to cable and broadband internet service providers and additionally make the moratorium protections available to small businesses.
“The COVID pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on all New Yorkers, and as we get closer to the light at the end of the tunnel we must provide residents with the support they need to recover and rebuild,” Cuomo said. “Utility companies provide essential services, and we need to make sure they continue to provide them in every situation – especially to those individuals who have suffered the most from COVID and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s why New York was the first state in the nation to establish a statewide moratorium on all utility shutoffs during the COVID crisis and why we’re extending that moratorium to make sure every single New Yorker can continue to provide for themselves and their families.”