Committee Advances Bill Allowing More Seniors to Qualify for Utility Rate Reductions

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio that would grant municipal and county authorities greater flexibility to provide rate reductions to qualified senior citizens and individuals with disabilities was approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Out-of-control inflation and run-away interest rates are hurting families throughout New Jersey, but the threatening fiscal environment is hitting seniors and individuals with disabilities particularly hard,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “These New Jerseyans are desperate for some relief and this legislation is a step in the right direction. By allowing more people to qualify for utility rate discounts, we can help more residents keep their lights on and heat their homes.”

Pennacchio’s bill, S-1899, would increase from $10,000 to $15,000 per year the annual income eligibility limit for certain seniors and individuals with disabilities to receive a reduction or total abatement of the rents, rates, fees, or other charges collected by a local unit or units operating a sewerage facility or a water supply facility, a municipal or county utilities authority, or a municipal or county sewerage authority.

The bill would also require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to consult with the Department of the Treasury in order to adjust the income eligibility limit annually to reflect increases in the consumer price index for all urban consumers in the New York City and Philadelphia areas as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor.

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