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NJ Politics: Bucco Bill Establishes Grace Period for Late Water & Sewer Bills

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TRENTON, NJ (February 7, 2019)(CNBNewsnet)New Jersey residents who fall behind on their water and sewer bills would be given a 30-day grace period before interest begins to accrue, under legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco. The bill, S-2066, was today advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“When you’re already coping with the highest property taxes in the country, it can be pretty easy to fall behind on your utility bills,” Senator Anthony Bucco (R-26) said. “Giving consumers a 30-day break before interest starts piling up is a simple fix that will make it a lot easier for people to stay in their homes.”

S-2066 would require public utilities to provide for the deferral of interest accrual on balances that are owed, but which are not promptly paid by consumers, for water and sewer services.

Under the bill, this would include public water and sewer utilities, nonprofit water companies, county sewerage authorities, and municipally-operated utilities such as municipal water or sewer utility authorities and municipally-owned waterworks.

Current laws regarding whether or not companies can defer interest on late payments are woefully unclear, and the practice of doing so is inconsistent in this industry, depending on the service provider. There is currently no State law that requires the deferral of interest on late sewer or water payments.

Senator Bucco’s bill aims to establish a uniform process, so that every customer is eligible for the same grace period, regardless of which water or sewer entity supplies the service.

“We will continue to fight for large scale fiscal and tax reforms to get New Jersey back on track, but in the meantime, we also need to enact pro-consumer solutions that will help those who are struggling right now,” Bucco added. “Giving people a little extra time to get caught up on water or sewer bills, without having to worry about the accrual of interest is the right thing to do.”

A copy of the bill can be found here.

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