O&R Collection Activities for Payment Arrears Enter the Next Stage
Since COVID flooded into our communities nearly three years ago, many of our residential and commercial electric and natural gas customers have had their health, emotional wellbeing and financial position significantly impacted.
We, at Orange & Rockland, have been very sensitive to that situation and have been particularly attuned to the needs of our customers. We have worked closely with our regulators, federal and state elected officials, our shareholders and our customers to develop and implement a number of utility bill assistance programs for those in need.
Over the past year, Orange & Rockland low-income and non-low-income customers have received $18.1 million dollars in bill credit assistance through the NYS Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program, the NYS Regular Arrears Supplement and the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance program.
For those customers that did not have their entire arrears cleared up through the bill credits, we have sent thousands of e-mails, made hundreds of telephone calls and even conducted personal visits to encourage a payment arrangement on the bill’s balance. In fact, in the first quarter of 2023 alone, we will send out over 40,000 e-mails to customers providing them with the opportunity to work with us to address the balances on the outstanding bills.
As part of the Phase 2 of the NYS Electric and Gas Bill Relief Program, O&R placed a hold on shutting off the power to residential accounts that are in arrears for 30 days from the date the credits were applied.
We want you to be aware that on March 6th the hold will be lifted on shutting off the power to customer accounts where an outstanding past due balance remains, even after the bill credits, and the customers have not entered into a payment agreement.
As is always the case, shutting off a customer’s power is a last resort. We much prefer to work with customers before we reach that point. Should customers contact your office for assistance in paying their bills, please refer them to our website at www.oru.com/nybillhelp.
For your reference, I also have attached a copy of a recent press release that offers other avenues of assistance for these customers as well.
Eric D. Fuentes
Manager, Corporate Affairs
Orange and Rockland Utilities
(718) 923-7045 (f)