New Hampshire residents who fall behind on their gas and electric bills have some protection now that winter weather has set in.
During cold-weather months, disconnecting gas or electric service can be dangerous.
So last week, different rules for doing so kicked in.
“The rules that are in place provide some extra procedural protections for individuals that are struggling with the high cost of electricity during the winter period,” says Steve Tower, an attorney with New Hampshire Legal Aid.
Between now and March, gas and electric customers have to be in significant debt before their utilities can shut off their service.
The rules also make utilities do more to reach out to customers before those shutoffs happen – and require state permission to disconnect ratepayers who are elderly or in proven financial hardship.
The PUC will also let customers make smaller monthly payments through the winter to maintain service.