Fresh Start is a partnership between the customer and the USF to forgive past due balances and improve their payment history. Simply pay your current monthly fees on time and in full every month, and after 12 months of full on-time payments, the past balance from the pre-USF program will be erased. There are several programs available, so even if someone doesn't think they're eligible for help, they should try to find out. The Universal Service Fund (USF) provides monthly credits for utility bills.
Part of the USF is the Fresh Start program, which offers unlimited debt forgiveness for past due balances and helps improve the customer's payment history. With Fresh Start, if a USF customer pays current monthly utility bill charges in full for one year, previously overdue balances are eliminated. If someone isn't sure if they qualify for a program or has questions about what programs are available, NJ SHARES is an excellent source of information. In addition, the Fresh Start program has been expanded, which allows past due balances to be forgiven as long as customers pay their monthly energy bills in full for one year.
People enrolled in other programs (such as Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, USF and Lifeline) are protected by the Winter Termination Program. An ARP grant can help households that have fallen behind on their utility payments (gas and electricity), and the program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through the American Rescue Plan Utility Relief. Regulators also promoted the Fresh Start Program, which allows debt forgiveness on overdue balances as long as customers pay their monthly utility bills in full for one year.
NEW Overdue Balance Forgiveness & Expanded Payment Assistance The New Jersey Public Utilities Board has expanded income eligibility requirements for the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Energy Assistance Program for Low-Income Homes (LIHEAP), state programs that help bring energy bills are more affordable. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills, and provide for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program. If you are eligible for Fresh Start when you enroll in USF, your energy company will automatically enroll you and you will be sent additional information about how the Fresh Start program works.