New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced $567 million (£463m) is being made available to help low income households pay of past energy bills.
It includes an estimated $557 million statewide COVID-19 bill credit programme for low income customers adopted today by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC).
Under the programme, the New York PSC is leveraging the $250 million (£204m) from the financial year 2023 Enacted State Budget to require utilities to provide a one-time credit to customers.
COVID-19 caused significant financial hardships to low income customers and those with unpaid utility bills, along with the amount owed, has “risen considerably” since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Those customers enrolled in the Energy Affordability Programme (EAP) will receive help towards their unpaid utility bills that have accrued through 1st May 2022.
It will also provide the same support for any eligible low income customers who enrol in EAP by 31st December 2022.
More than 327,000 low income households in New York are expected to directly benefit from the programme.
Governor Hochul said: “It’s unacceptable that far too many New Yorkers are at risk of having their lights shut off for failure to pay their utility bills due to financial problems caused by the pandemic.
“To address this, I partnered with the State Legislature to appropriate $250 million toward reducing the burden of utility arrears. Today’s action by the Public Service Commission builds on the budget appropriation and is a major step forward to help vulnerable New Yorkers maintain their utility services while they get back on their feet.”