Many NJ customers can’t get help with overdue bills because of reluctant utilities

January 27, 2023

Customers owe New Jersey’s water and sewer utilities tens of millions in unpaid bills, debts that have thousands of families facing shut-offs.

While a Low Income Household Water Assistance program offers up to $5,000 to eligible families to avoid that prospect, only 126 of the more than 600 water and sewer service providers in New Jersey are participating in the federally funded program, which is administered by the state Department of Community Affairs.

As a result, only 1,993 households in the state have received federal funding from the program to pay those overdue bills in the nearly one year since its launch. There is $17.3 million left unspent, money which could revert to the federal government by this fall, according to Larry Levine, director of water infrastructure for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Consumer debt is increasing,” said Daniel Jefferson of AARP-New Jersey [MCRP/MPP ’24], who noted many homeowners are facing tax liens because of unpaid utility bills.

NJ Spotlight News 1/27/23

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