Senate Passes Cruz-Perez Legislation to Establish Winter Termination Program

Trenton – The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez that would extend the grace period for certain sewer, water and municipally owned electric utility disconnection and establish a winter sewer and water termination program.
The bill, S-4081, would extend the sewer and water disconnection moratorium from January 1, 2021 to March 15, 2022. The bill would require the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to establish a Winter Termination Program for non-regulated water utilities, similar to what currently exists for regulated gas and electric companies under the Winter Termination Program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made life incredibly difficult for many individuals. Financially, many New Jerseyans are still recovering from mass layoffs. As utility bill payments and the holidays approach, many individuals may face water and sewer disconnection if they are unable to pay their bill in time,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D- Camden). “The goal of this legislation is to give individuals an extended grace period to be able to pay those bills without the threat of losing their water.”
The legislation would require local authorities, municipal utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and public utilities to offer utility service bill payment plans for the unpaid balances accrued during the extended grace period before discontinuing service.
The bill was passed by a vote of 39-0.