As COVID Emergency Powers End, Murphy Must Maintain Utility Shutoff Moratorium

Policies preventing water shutoffs helped tens of thousands of New Jersey families — and likely saved lives.


Clean Water

Governor Murphy is expected to sign a bill that effectively ends many of the COVID-19 public health emergency powers that have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The legislation allows the governor to keep in place certain policies, including the moratoria that blocks utilities from shutting off service for non-payment. 

This policy has maintained water and other essential utility services for thousands of families struggling to pay their bills amidst the economically devastating public health crisis. 

Food & Water Watch New Jersey State Director Matt Smith issued the following statement: 

“Water debt has grown to unmanageable levels during the pandemic. This moratorium saved tens of thousands of New Jersey households from losing their service during the COVID crisis — a policy that most likely saved lives too. It is imperative that Governor Murphy extend this policy for as long as possible.  

“Moving forward, New Jersey should make fundamental changes to ensure that no families are at risk of losing water service. We need better data collection on water shutoffs and water debt, as well as new arrearage debt relief and income-based affordability programs for those struggling with costs. The BPU must prohibit utilities from profiteering off of emergency costs associated with COVID recovery, and it should craft permanent policies to prevent water shutoffs in the future.”