New York's Public Utility Law Project

New York's Public Utility Law Project The Public Utility Law Project of New York advocates on behalf of low & fixed-income residential energy, water & telecom consumers. Whether you own or rent, utility services are an essential part of your home.

Whether you own or rent your residence, utility services are an essential part of your home. From keeping the lights on and keeping your home warm in the winter to having access to telecommunications services—these services are accessed by millions of New Yorkers each year. For low-income consumers, dealing with utility companies can be a daunting task. These utility consumers often need an advoca

Whether you own or rent your residence, utility services are an essential part of your home. From keeping the lights on and keeping your home warm in the winter to having access to telecommunications services—these services are accessed by millions of New Yorkers each year. For low-income consumers, dealing with utility companies can be a daunting task. These utility consumers often need an advoca

Operating as usual

10/12/2021
Broadband Access in New York

Our own Richard Berkley was excited to participate in this piece about broadband access and affordability in New York State. Check out the full presentation via the link below!

#tbt to 2012 when our own Bill Yates triggered a Public Service Commission investigation into the shady practices of Ene...
10/01/2021

#tbt to 2012 when our own Bill Yates triggered a Public Service Commission investigation into the shady practices of Energy Service Corporations (“ESCO’s”) in New York State. At that time we were in a rate-case proceeding where the company disclosed that ESCO customers had paid approximately $130 million more for deregulated ESCO service than they would have paid for regulated utility service had they not switched. The issue would soon after be picked up by John Cambell at the Village Voice, whose several expose pieces showed that the issue was in fact statewide and not just isolated to this specific utility company.

This #tbt, we want to once again #shinealight on our former Executive Director, Gerry Norlander. When PULP’s funding was...
09/23/2021

This #tbt, we want to once again #shinealight on our former Executive Director, Gerry Norlander. When PULP’s funding was cut to near-zero 2012, Gerry worked tenaciously to revive and rebrand the organization. While we were sad to see him retire after decades of principled advocacy and litigation in 2015, we’re forever grateful for his dedication to New York’s low-income utility consumers and PULP itself! We can’t wait to catch up with him at our 40th Anniversary Event on October 19!

pc: John Carl D'Annibale of the Times Union (2006)

This #tbt, we want to once again #shinealight on our former Executive Director, Gerry Norlander. When PULP’s funding was cut to near-zero 2012, Gerry worked tenaciously to revive and rebrand the organization. While we were sad to see him retire after decades of principled advocacy and litigation in 2015, we’re forever grateful for his dedication to New York’s low-income utility consumers and PULP itself! We can’t wait to catch up with him at our 40th Anniversary Event on October 19!

pc: John Carl D'Annibale of the Times Union (2006)

Did you know that #Lifeline enrollees automatically qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides discount...
09/21/2021

Did you know that #Lifeline enrollees automatically qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides discounts for #broadband service and devices to families struggling to stay connected during the pandemic? Learn more about the program here: fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

Did you know that #Lifeline enrollees automatically qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides discounts for #broadband service and devices to families struggling to stay connected during the pandemic? Learn more about the program here: fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

This week is #Lifeline Awareness Week! Lifeline is a federal program to lower the cost of telephone and broadband servic...
09/20/2021

This week is #Lifeline Awareness Week! Lifeline is a federal program to lower the cost of telephone and broadband services for low-income households around the country!

Find out if you qualify @ https://www.lifelinesupport.org/do-i-qualify/!

This week is #Lifeline Awareness Week! Lifeline is a federal program to lower the cost of telephone and broadband services for low-income households around the country!

Find out if you qualify @ https://www.lifelinesupport.org/do-i-qualify/!

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on the two Utility Shutoff Moratorium Acts sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker and Assem...
09/17/2021
Utility shutoff moratoriums protected many consumers earlier in the pandemic. What happens now?

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on the two Utility Shutoff Moratorium Acts sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblymember Diana C. Richardson and former-Assemblyman Walter T . Mosley. From early into the pandemic until June 24 2021, these universal shutoff protections kept millions of New Yorkers connected to vital electric, gas, water, internet, and telephone services.

Did you know that you can still receive protection from utility shutoffs until Christmas Week (December 21)? If you're struggling to make payments, call each of your utility companies immediately and tell them you'd like to "self-certify" to a change in financial circumstance. This will put a freeze on service terminations until the start of the new year.

Cities and states are looking at how to help residents likely to lose power once utility shutoff moratoriums end. 

PULP's Executive Director joined three subject matter experts from other "retail choice" states on September 13. Many go...
09/15/2021
Webinar | Is "Retail Choice" Working or U.S. Consumers? - PEER.org

PULP's Executive Director joined three subject matter experts from other "retail choice" states on September 13. Many good questions were asked by the audience and hopefully they will have more tough questions for the panelists and their legislatures/public utility commissions going forward.

Webinar features lessons from experts in key states that deregulated their residential energy supply markets in favor of retail choice in the 1990s.

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on a case PULP litigated back in 2010. After a tenant’s water service was wrongly term...
09/10/2021

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on a case PULP litigated back in 2010. After a tenant’s water service was wrongly terminated by their municipal supplier due to arrears of an absentee owner and the property was condemned, PULP intervened in federal court. The court found her constitutional rights were violated when the City refused to provide water service to her without allowing her to pay her landlord’s bill for past service, and for terminating service without timely and adequate notice, including notice of an opportunity for a hearing. This caselaw laid the groundwork for a future court decision that dealt with a similar issue as well as the eventual COVID-19 utility shutoff moratorium.

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on a case PULP litigated back in 2010. After a tenant’s water service was wrongly terminated by their municipal supplier due to arrears of an absentee owner and the property was condemned, PULP intervened in federal court. The court found her constitutional rights were violated when the City refused to provide water service to her without allowing her to pay her landlord’s bill for past service, and for terminating service without timely and adequate notice, including notice of an opportunity for a hearing. This caselaw laid the groundwork for a future court decision that dealt with a similar issue as well as the eventual COVID-19 utility shutoff moratorium.

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on two of our heroes, New York State Senator Dale Volker and Assemblymember Oliver Kop...
09/02/2021

This #tbt we want to #shinealight on two of our heroes, New York State Senator Dale Volker and Assemblymember Oliver Koppell. These former legislators were the authors of the original Home Energy Fair Practices Act (“HEFPA”), often called the “Utility Consumer Bill of Rights,” in 1981. The law provides comprehensive consumer protections to residential customers of electric and natural gas utilities and shares its 40th anniversary this year with PULP!

“The significant bill impacts initially proposed were mitigated and the company agreed to resolve consumer COVID-19 arre...
08/25/2021
Environmental and Consumer Advocates Win Fossil Fuel Reductions, Language Access Improvements, and Rate Hike Cutbacks from Central Hudson Utility | AGREE

“The significant bill impacts initially proposed were mitigated and the company agreed to resolve consumer COVID-19 arrears if the State does not act to do so before winter. We also have a commitment to greater transparency and language accessibility in billing and consumer notifications, broader eligibility criteria for low-income/fixed-income households to enter the Low-Income Affordability program, and an embrace of the necessary changes created by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

After months of negotiations with the Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, public interest groups have achieved commitments from the utility to reduce fracked gas sales, translate the company’s website and customer materials into Spanish, and cut the overall bill increases the company was ...

Save the date! Consumer advocates in IL, MD, NY and TX will be discussing the extreme problems of overpricing in the ESC...
08/19/2021
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Is ‘Retail Choice’ Working for U.S. Consumers?: Deregulated Energy’s Results, Challenges, and Solutions. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Save the date! Consumer advocates in IL, MD, NY and TX will be discussing the extreme problems of overpricing in the ESCO (retail "energy service companies") marketplace.
https://bit.ly/3xZcn3h

This interactive webinar will provide participants the opportunity to learn from experts in key states that deregulated their residential energy supply markets in the 1990s. With nearly one-third of home energy now sold under ‘Retail Choice’ in 13 states and DC, did supply competition spark bett...

Verizon waives calling charges to Haiti
08/18/2021
Verizon waives calling charges to Haiti

Verizon waives calling charges to Haiti

Wireless and landline consumer and business customers can call to Haiti for free following devastating earthquake

After long silence and inaction, the Department of Public Service (DPS) is beginning to act on the utility arrears crisi...
08/08/2021
Due to owed payments, many New Yorkers at risk of utility shutoffs

After long silence and inaction, the Department of Public Service (DPS) is beginning to act on the utility arrears crisis. Stay tuned for this coming Thursday's Orders on the State's utility consumer low-income discount plan, and hopefully some clues on when arrears resolution will begin. And, don't miss the Assembly hearing on OTDA's failures to meaningfully implement the Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Program (ERAP).
Very nice to get this important conversation started on Capital Tonight with Susan Arbetter.
https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/capital-region/politics/2021/07/19/many-new-yorkers-at-risk-of-utility-shutoffs

$1.5 billion is owed on energy bills.

The most important thing Dave Lombardo got right in this interview is that consumers have to ask for their 180-day grace...
07/21/2021
Utility shutoff moratorium available to New Yorkers (who ask for it)

The most important thing Dave Lombardo got right in this interview is that consumers have to ask for their 180-day grace period from their utility(ies). As AARP pointed out recently, that could mean as many as 4 calls. If you don't talk to your utility, you do not get a grace period & they can shut off asap.
https://capitolpressroom.org/2021/07/08/utility-shutoff-moratorium-available-to-new-yorkers-who-ask-for-it/

July 8, 2021 - The utility shutoff moratorium tied to the state's official pandemic disaster has ended, but Public Utility Law Project Executive Director Richard Berkley explains the protections that remain in place for New Yorkers who saw their income diminished during the pandemic.

A very timely editorial ran last week in Schenectady's Daily Gazette focusing on New York's utility consumer arrears cri...
07/21/2021
EDITORIAL: State must address overdue utility bill crisis | The Daily Gazette

A very timely editorial ran last week in Schenectady's Daily Gazette focusing on New York's utility consumer arrears crisis.
https://dailygazette.com/2021/07/13/editorial-state-must-address-overdue-utility-bill-crisis/

The covid state of emergency might be officially over and winter might be a several months away, but the crisis facing more than a million New Yorkers with regard to keeping the power on in their…

Utility shutoff moratorium available to New Yorkers (who ask for it)
07/10/2021
Utility shutoff moratorium available to New Yorkers (who ask for it)

Utility shutoff moratorium available to New Yorkers (who ask for it)

July 8, 2021 - The utility shutoff moratorium tied to the state's official pandemic disaster has ended, but Public Utility Law Project Executive Director Richard Berkley explains the protections that remain in place for New Yorkers who saw their income diminished during the pandemic.

Consumer advocates wary of federal loan program coming to New York |WCNY
07/09/2021
Consumer advocates wary of federal loan program coming to New York |WCNY

Consumer advocates wary of federal loan program coming to New York |WCNY

June 29, 2021 - Empire Justice Center senior attorney Kirsten Keefe and Public Utility Law Project Executive Director Richard Berkley weigh in on a controversial federal loan program - that could be coming to New York - designed to foster eco-friendly home upgrades, but has resulted in participants....

07/01/2021

On May 12, 2021, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program opens up! This program will connect more children to school, seniors to telemedicine and New Yorkers to work and other vital services. Learn more at https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit!

Photos from New York's Public Utility Law Project's post
07/01/2021

Photos from New York's Public Utility Law Project's post

07/01/2021

We're in for another summer of record-breaking heat. Did you know that #LIHEAP in New York also offers a cooling benefit? Qualifying households can receive up to $800 for the purchase and installation of an air conditioner. Stay cool, stay safe!

Photos from New York's Public Utility Law Project's post
07/01/2021

Photos from New York's Public Utility Law Project's post

Thanks for having us, Capitol Pressroom!
07/01/2021
Consumer advocates wary of federal loan program coming to New York |WCNY

Thanks for having us, Capitol Pressroom!

June 29, 2021 - Empire Justice Center senior attorney Kirsten Keefe and Public Utility Law Project Executive Director Richard Berkley weigh in on a controversial federal loan program - that could be coming to New York - designed to foster eco-friendly home upgrades, but has resulted in participants....

FYI to ConEd customers that are without power in Brooklyn - they are distributing dry-ice while supplies last!
06/30/2021

FYI to ConEd customers that are without power in Brooklyn - they are distributing dry-ice while supplies last!

We will be distributing dry ice today, June 30, 2021 at 274 Nassau Ave. near the corner of Morgan Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to customers who have lost power due to the intense heat wave.

Workers are onsite until 9 p.m. to answer any questions. Click the link for detailed information: http://spr.ly/6189yT35P
#safetyfirst #dryice

On June 28, utilities can start terminating service to customers behind on their bills. New Yorkers are eligible for 180...
06/25/2021

On June 28, utilities can start terminating service to customers behind on their bills. New Yorkers are eligible for 180 days of additional protection from shutoffs, but you MUST inform your utility immediately that your financial circumstances have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic ("self-certify")!

Today is #PrimeDay. Did you know you can support PULP while you shop? Just visit https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose th...
06/21/2021

Today is #PrimeDay. Did you know you can support PULP while you shop? Just visit https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. as your preferred charity!

Today is #PrimeDay. Did you know you can support PULP while you shop? Just visit https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose the Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. as your preferred charity!

We're in for another summer of record-breaking heat. Did you know that #LIHEAP in New York also offers a cooling benefit...
06/11/2021

We're in for another summer of record-breaking heat. Did you know that #LIHEAP in New York also offers a cooling benefit? Qualifying households can receive up to $800 for the purchase and installation of an air conditioner. Stay cool, stay safe!

We're in for another summer of record-breaking heat. Did you know that #LIHEAP in New York also offers a cooling benefit? Qualifying households can receive up to $800 for the purchase and installation of an air conditioner. Stay cool, stay safe!

New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program ("ERAP") is now accepting applications! The program can provide up to 12 ...
06/01/2021

New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program ("ERAP") is now accepting applications! The program can provide up to 12 months of rental and utility arrears assistance for eligible recipients. You MUST be a renter to apply and beware that the program is not available in select counties and municipalities. Find out more by calling at 1 (844) NY1-RENT or visit https://otda.ny.gov/programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance/.

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Albany, NY
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Monday 8:30am - 6pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 6pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 6pm
Thursday 8:30am - 6pm
Friday 8:30am - 6pm

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(877) 669-2572

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It's Giving Tuesday!
A bit of history about what it took to get U.S. rural areas electrified--as a lesson for the broadband challenge today.