Winter Termination Program
The NJ Department of Community Affairs has implemented a Winter Termination Program to prevent service discontinuation for eligible residential customers receiving residential electric, sewer and water service from a local authority, municipal utility, or rural electric cooperative from November 15th through March 15th.
Service cannot be disconnected during this period to those residential customers who demonstrate at the time of the intended termination that they are:
- Recipients of benefits under the Federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) or certified as eligible therefore under standards set by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
- Recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
- Recipients of Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Recipients of Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD).
- Recipients of General Assistance (GA) benefits.
- Recipients of the Universal Service Fund (USF).
- Recipients of the Low-income Household Water Assistance Program.
- Recipients of benefits under the Lifeline Credit Program.
- Persons unable to pay their utility bills because of circumstances beyond their control. Such circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to, unemployment, illness, medically related expenses, recent death of an immediate family member, and any other circumstances, which might cause financial hardship.
As part of this program, your agency is required to send a notice to all residential customers about the Winter Termination Program in the billing cycle prior November 15. The notice shall set forth the terms and conditions of the Program. In addition, your agency must send notice about the Program to a residential customer who have started a new service after the billing cycle prior to November 15 at the time the residential customer signs up for service.
If your agency has a policy that provides that service will not be shut off to any residential customer from November 15 to March 15, your agency does not have to comply with the notice requirement. In such case, your agency must post a notice generally describing the Program on its website. If the policy changes at any time, your agency must comply with the above terms.
If a customer receives electric, water, or wastewater related financial assistance, the customer shall forward all the benefits to their appropriate electric, water, or wastewater vendor.
During the protection period, an electric, water, or wastewater vendor shall not request a security deposit or an addition to an existing security deposit from a customer who is eligible for and seeks the protection of the Winter Termination Program.
All customers in arrears should be referred to DCAid or NJ211 for possible assistance.