State legislation that extends the moratorium to prevent utility companies from disconnecting utilities to households and small businesses is having a financial impact on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. BPU Information and Customer Services Manager Frank Galeazzo said the utility is not receiving payments from customers, “The last time we ran some numbers, based on our arrears for past due accounts any account over 60 days past due we’ve seen a 300% increase in the money past due from our customers because there are no shut-offs and people have been affected by the Pandemic.”
From a budgetary standpoint, Galeazzo said the BPU is waiting to see what happens at the state and federal level, “We still have to continue to pay our bills. We still have to continue to pay our bills to New York State. So even though we’re not getting that cash flow, that has not exempted us from paying the bills we are required to pay.”
He said there is help for utility customers through the HEAP program, “HEAP is mainly for their electric charges. It does not cover the water, wastewater and garbage charges, but it does cover the electric charges for the HEAP program. And you can go to New York State website and google ‘HEAP’ and people can apply for those HEAP funds today.”
Galeazzo added additional ways customers can get help with their utility bill includes payment arrangements with the BPU, help from the Johnson BPU Good Neighbor Fund, and as well as assistance through the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services.