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Cruz-Perez Bill to Authorize Public Utility Assistance Grants Clears Committee

Nilsa Cruz-Perez

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

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.

“Many residents in New Jersey work hard but still struggle to make ends meet,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester).  “We are aiming to try to make funds available to those that have fallen behind on their energy bills 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 was released from committee with a vote of 4-1, and next moves to the Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.