Cruz-Perez Bill to Authorize Public Utility Assistance Grants Advances

Nilsa Cruz-Perez

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez that would authorize electric and gas public utility assistance grants to help those seeking temporary assistance cleared the Senate yesterday. 

The bill, S-2129, would require the Board of Public Utilities to dedicate $25 million to fund grants for  those seeking temporary assistance with their electric and gas utility billsfrom certain statewide nonprofit energy assistance organizations.  The funds would be collected through the societal benefits charge of the Electronic Discount and Energy Competition Act and would begin starting in the Fiscal Year 2019.

“There are many residents in New Jersey that work hard but have fallen behind paying their energy bills,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester).  “These funds can be vital to those that that need that little bit of assistance and hopefully enable them to work towards financial stability.”

Within one year after the grants are disbursed by the Board of Public Utilities, the organizations involved would be required to issue a report to the board detailing the number of applicants, the number of those that received help, the average income of those assisted, the methods of verifying their income or hardship and any other information required by the board.

The provisions of the bill would expire upon the 30th day after submission of the report to the governor and the Legislature.

The bill cleared by the Senate with a vote of 37-2.