With urging from the state, PSEG Long Island, National Grid and New York American Water say they are suspending service shut-offs for customers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Public Service Commission on Friday said it would work with utilities across the state to make sure customers affected by the virus wouldn't lose power, heat or water service. "The state’s major electric, gas, and water utilities will take immediate action to suspend service shut-offs to households during the COVID-19 outbreak," the agency said.
PSEG said it would suspend electric shut-offs for nonpayment through the end of April. The policy is aimed at addressing customers who “may be negatively affected by issues related to the pandemic,” the company said.
PSEG said customers facing financial difficulty related to the pandemic should contact the utility to work out deferred payment plans. The number is 800-490-0025.
A PSEG spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available to say how many customers would normally be shut off at this time, or whether recently terminated customers would be restored.
National Grid, which operates the regional natural gas system, said it too was temporarily suspending "collections-related activity," including service shut-offs.
The company also is limiting attendance at external meetings and visitors to its offices, restricting travel among its locations and increasing disinfection at its facilities.
New York American Water, which is being sold to Liberty Utilities for $608 million, has announced a moratorium on service shut-offs for its 126,000 Nassau customers, as well as others in its upstate territory.
The company said on its website it also intends to begin restoring service to an unspecified number of customers who already have had their water turned off.
“The restoration may take some time, but we will work as quickly and safely as possible,” the company said of those whose service was shut off before March 12.
New York American Water also intends to suspend all “nonessential” field service appointments and will “limit the amount and nature of contact with customers" during such visits.
The company said it provides “protection that includes filtration and disinfection of our surface water supplies.” The treatments are “effective in removing and/or inactivating viruses.”
The Suffolk County Water Authority said it was suspending “nonessential” customer in-home appointments “until further notice” and limiting access to its offices because of the virus threat. Customers can call 631-698-9500 with questions.
Suffolk's water authority also will not shut off water because of nonpayment, a spokesman said Friday.
Other restrictions and protocols for the water authority, including how to leave payments at its offices, can be found here.