Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation this week extending a moratorium that prevents families facing income limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic from suffering. disconnection of services such as electricity and water. But now the measure reaches the providers of cable internet and broadband. In addition, this protection is extended for small businesses that are trying to recover financially.
The moratorium extends for a period of 180 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted or 180 days after the December 31, 2021.
The new legal text that modifies the Public Services Law, obliges these corporations to offer their clients a deferred payment agreement, without commissions or penalties, on any overdue balance.
The assemblywoman Diana Richardson, one of the promoters of the regulation, reasoned that it has been specified that after more than a year after this pandemic, many New Yorkers are still struggling to make ends meet.
“At a time when people are concentrating on the health and food, maintaining and expanding the existing moratorium on cutting off public services is essential, to help avoid further difficulties and ensure that they can maintain their quality of life, “he said.
Of course, clients must demonstrate through a declaration that they have had changes in your financial reality, due to the public health emergency, so that they have the option of restructuring their debts, without being able to be forced to a down payment or penalties for delays.
“New York was the nation’s first state in establishing a state extension on all public service cuts during the Covid-19 crisis. And we are taking these steps to ensure that all New Yorkers can continue to support themselves and their families, ”the Governor stressed.
The importance of the internet
The new legislation is part of the campaign ‘Return from NY’, released by the state government to support the economic recovery of the state, and joins a series of reliefs approved in recent weeks that also includes the moratorium on evictions of residential and commercial tenants in New York, until August 31.
Although companies that offer vital services to New Yorkers like ConEdison which distributes electricity and gas, from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic They created plans to avoid cuts due to faults in the cancellation of invoices, the reality of internet supply companies was different. In times when thousands of families depended on remote classes.
44% of New Yorkers living in poverty lack broadband internet, according to data from the New York City Comptroller’s office.
The peruvian Lorenza Quispe, 45 years old and a Harlem resident, she was one of them.
The immigrant says that when the clases ‘on line’, the school assigned a tablet to each of its two children, but it was found that by a debt of three months with the service of an internet provider corporation, he could not reinstall the network connection.
“Luckily there are many public places in the city with free access. Simply couldn’t meet those bills, when he also owed the rent, because with the electricity company there were no problems. After a year I was able to install it again but it was hard, “he said.
Internet service provider companies such as Altice, Spectrum and Verizon have offered plans in coordination with the City Department of Education (DOE) to guarantee reduced rates to eligible individuals who for example participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), New Yorkers receiving food stamps (SNAP), and seniors below the poverty line.
Among the incentives of these telecommunications corporations are 60 days of free internet access for public school students in financial distress.
The Dominican Sarelys Rubio, 50, he narrates that the owner of the building where he lives in Upper Manhattan during the winter told the delinquent tenants that at some point they would stay no hot water, no heating.
“He never did, but since the lease agreement establishes that he covers those two services, he pressured us saying that he couldn’t pay it because we owed him. We knew that it was by pressure, because these services are not cutting them due to the pandemic, “said the Quisqueyana.
Likewise, the electricity supply company ConEdison has insisted that they have promoted help plans during the pandemic.
Through a statement he stressed that especially now care must be taken with anyone who demands a payment or threaten to disconnect service.
“The electricity service will not be cut off, even even though you can’t pay your bill at this time. If someone asks you for money for new meters, it is false. We do not charge for the meters ”, underlines the alert.
- The legislation applies immediately to the services of electricity, gas, water, telecommunications, cable and broadband.
- Utilities must offer customers a commission-free deferred payment arrangement, no sanctions, on any overdue balance.
- The different public service commissions will have the authority to address complaints and conduct investigations by violation of this legislation in the manner provided and will have the authority to enforce it.
- The New York Office of Consumer Policy maintains the website www.AskPSC.com with information on how to participate in the Department’s procedures and its consumer assistance programs.
- By phone you can access the Helpline, complaints and general inquiries at 1-800-342-3377
- You can report inconveniences and violations with illegal utility cuts by calling 311.
The cost of the ‘bills’ in NY:
A report from move.org, ranked New York as the fifth state in the country with the more expensive utilities. According to general averages, a single-family home can spend per month:
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.