Can Utility Companies Turn Off Your Power During Heat Wave In New York?
Many parts of New York are dealing with extreme heat today. When temperatures and the heat index rise, air conditioners and fans offer some much-needed relief. But what happens if you were already behind on your power bill? Can the utility company cut off your service even though it's sweltering?
National Weather Service Issues Extreme Heat Warning For New York
The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory warning for many counties in New York State for today, Thursday, July 6, 2023. The following counties are affected:
Steuben, Yates, Seneca, Southern Cayuga, Onondaga, Schuyler, Chemung, Tompkins, Madison, Oneida, Tioga, Broome, Herkimer, Montgomery, Schenectady Counties, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Northern Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson, Genesee, Livingston, Lewis, and Ontario counties.
The warning states that heat index values in the mid-90s are expected between 11 am and 8 pm today. The severe heat could impact New Yorkers' by causing heat illnesses to occur.
The National Weather Service says,
Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency!
Can Your Utility Company Disconnect Your Service During Extreme Heat In New York?
If you got behind on your utility bill and are in arrears, can the utility company cut off your service, even though it's extremely hot? The short answer is YES!
According to LIHEAP Clearing House, New York State only offers protection from utility disconnection from November 1 to April 15. During the winter months, when there is a threat of hypothermia, residents are protected.
Now, with that said, there is another layer of protection, New York State,
Prohibits disconnect if household has life support system; 30 day delay for certified medical condition, certificates may be renewed for 30 days or longer if a chronic condition exists. Prohibits disconnect if customer is blind, disabled, or 62 years or older and the remaining household members are 62 years or older, 18 years or under, or blind or disabled unless the utility contacts the household 72 hours prior to termination of service for the purpose of devising a pay plan.
If you need to file a complaint against your utility provider, you can do so here.