Translator Disclaimers
For Immediate Release: Contact: Peter Peretzman
Date: 03/15/2022 609-900-5626
Winter Termination Program Ends Today
Trenton, NJ—Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver and New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) President Joseph L. Fiordaliso today urged the hundreds of thousands of utility customers who have fallen behind on their utility bills to take action to avoid utility shutoffs. Customers are encouraged to contact their utilities to arrange a payment plan and to apply for the State’s expanded energy assistance programs. Today marks the end of New Jersey’s Winter Termination Program, which prevents gas and electric shutoffs during the cold, winter months. It also marks the end of the extended grace period for water, sewer, and municipal electric customers pursuant to legislation enacted in December 2021.


Statewide there are more than 850,000 residential gas and electric customers who collectively owe more than $660 million, much of which is a result of economic hardships brought on by the impact of the COVID pandemic. There are also more than 157,000 overdue residential water accounts, which owe more than $50 million.


Lt. Governor Oliver and President Fiordaliso were joined by Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora.


“If you have electric, gas, or water bills that are past due, now is the time to ask for help,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who also serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “There are a significant number of residents who are in danger of having their services cut off after today and that is why we’re continuing to ask utility companies to work with people as they apply for assistance—but they must apply for help.”

“We know the pandemic brought to light the difficulties many families have in making ends meet, and for a significant amount of households, it was the first time they experienced such hardships. Help is available and now that the Winter Termination program and grace period are ending, we are redoubling our call to everyone who is behind on their bills to please contact your utility and apply for assistance,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “NJBPU has expanded our programs to help more families, and the State as invested more resources. The time to ask for help is now. No one wants to see anyone lose their utility services.”


 “I know from talking to people across Trenton that meeting monthly obligations can be a struggle. Many of us know that struggle, or we know someone who knows that struggle. I want you to know that there are options,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “No one wants any resident or family to lose connection to basic utilities. By expanding income limits for its Universal Service Fund, more residents will have the opportunity to take advantage of assistance. Let anyone who may be having trouble with their gas, water, or electric bill know that there are options.”


Over the last year, New Jersey has taken substantial steps to help those who have been unable to pay their bills during the pandemic. These steps include a significant expansion of the State assistance programs to provide needed help to more families.


Changes made to the state’s Universal Service Program (USF) included raising the income limits from 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 400 percent FPL. For a family of four, the income limit for USF is now $106,000 annually. Other changes include raising monthly USF benefit caps to $180 and enrolling any USF customer with an overdue balance of $60 or more into the State’s energy debt forgiveness program “Fresh Start.”


The Board also expanded the Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) program, which had historically been for moderate-income families, to also offer supplemental assistance to low income families. The State has also earmarked $250M from the Federal American Rescue Plan Program for utility assistance.


Additionally, last year the Governor signed a bill into law extending the utility shutoff grace period to March 15, 2022, for all water, municipal electric, and sewer customers. The legislation also required all utilities to offer a 12-month, no down payment, interest-free payment plan to customers prior to disconnecting service or imposing liens for non-payment of arrearages that had accrued since the beginning of the public health emergency. Further, the legislation requires DCA to establish a Winter Termination Program (WTP) for customers of water, sewer, and electric municipal utilities and local authorities, and requires NJBPU to include water and sewer public utilities in its existing WTP. The program is active from November 15 through March 15 to cover each winter heating season to prevent customers from shutoffs during the winter heating season.  


During the course of the pandemic NJBPU has also conducted significant public outreach including events, announcements and social media to make customers who may owe money on their bills aware of the assistance that are available to them. The outreach includes an event in East Orange, Essex County, which has a high number of arrearages, and an online event for social service agencies.


Those who would like to apply for assistance are invited to go to DCA’s website to apply online or go to for detailed program information.  


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