Hardship Procedures

In accordance with NYS Department of Public Service rules, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) will continue electric heat related service if a person’s health or safety is threatened by the lack of heat. The utility will also refer health or safety problems to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In the following hardship cases, the BPU will not turn off service.

If you have a temporary acute hardship, such as a death in the family, recent unemployment, serious illness, infirmity or other grave condition, you immediately should contact our Customer Service Office at 716-661-1660 and advise the BPU of your situation. We will attempt to work out a mutually agreeable arrangement.

Medical Hardship

If you or a family member is ill, has a medical condition or uses a life support device, the BPU can help you. If you file a medical certificate from your doctor with the utility, the BPU will continue your service for 30 days. The BPU will tell you how the certificate can be renewed.

Renew Your Certificate

Briefly, to renew the certificate, your doctor must explain the medical emergency or why service is needed and you must explain why you are unable to pay your utility bills. The BPU will not shut off your service during the emergency, but you are still responsible for your bills.

If you need utility services to operate a life-supporting device, the certificate will remain in effect as long as the device is needed, but you must tell the BPU every three months that you are unable to pay. The BPU will also code your account to assure you added protection from your service being disconnected.

Elderly (62 or Older), Blind, or Disabled

If you are 62 years of age or older, blind, or disabled, and all those living with you are too, (or not over 18 years old), the BPU will make a special attempt to maintain your utility service. The BPU will attempt to contact you by phone or in person at least 72 hours before turn-off is scheduled to try and work out a fair payment plan.

If arrangements cannot be made, the BPU will notify the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) of the possible turn-off and will continue service for 15 days. If the BPU ultimately turns off service, it must, within 10 days after that, attempt to reach you and devise a plan for restoring service. If you qualify for protection under this section, notify the BPU at 661-1660 immediately.

Public Assistance & Social Security Income (SSI) Recipients

If you receive public assistance, you may be able to prevent your service from being turned off by contacting the BPU and your local Social Services office. Your Social Services office may be able to make payment arrangements to keep your service on.

Registration for Special Protection & Request for Information

If you have a medical hardship, need electric service to operate life support equipment, are 62 years of age or older, blind or disabled, receive public assistance, or wish to sign up for third party notification, please call the BPU Customer Service offices at 716-661-1660 and request that your account be coded for special protection from disconnection.