ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – New Yorkers struggling with their electric and gas bills can now get some help from a $567 million assistance program announced by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Hochul said the majority of the money will help more than 327,000 low-income gas and electric customers pay their August bills. Around $557 million came from the statewide COVID-19 bill credit program adopted by the NYS Public Service Commission. The announcement said customers can expect to see the credit on their next billing cycle, beginning August 1.

The program will eliminate unpaid utility bills for eligible low-income customers who enroll in the Energy Affordability Program by December 31, 2022. The credit requires no action by existing customers enrolled in the EAP.

To enroll in the Energy Affordability Program before December 31, 2022, click here.

“No New Yorker should have their lights and air conditioning shut off as a result of financial problems caused by the pandemic,” Hochul said. “I applaud the State Legislature for their partnership to appropriate $250 million toward reducing the burden of utility arrears, which will be critical to helping vulnerable New Yorkers maintain their utility services, especially during these hot summer months.” 

The announcement said the Public Service Commission “anticipates a future proposal by consumer groups and stakeholders to address the substantial increase in unpaid electric and gas utility bills for remaining residential and non-residential customers resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”