Some New York residents who have fallen behind on energy and heating bills received some good news this week, their debts are being forgiven.

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According to a report from Nick Reisman of Spectrum News, an estimated 478,000 residential customers and 56,000 small businesses will have their energy and heating debts forgiven under a new plan enacted by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday.

In a press release on Thursday, Governor Hochul stated "Every New Yorker deserves affordable energy, yet too many New Yorkers are at risk of having their lights turned off due to financial problems caused by the pandemic. Earlier this month, I laid out extensive proposals to make energy more affordable in my State of the State address, and with this historic electric and gas utility relief we're achieving another major milestone to help New Yorkers stay warm during the cold winter months."

Cold winter months is an understatement. In Binghamton for example, temperatures drop so low that residents have no choice but to use their heating and electrical systems. And thanks to the rising cost of heating and energy, they have to choose between living in borderline dangerous conditions or falling into debt to afford to stay warm.

New York Heating Electric Debt
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In total, New York State residents will be receiving $672 million in assistance to pay off their past due electric and heating bills. As part of the press release, Governor Hochul announced an additional $200 million in available relief for New Yorkers who make under $75,000 but have not been eligible for previous heating and electric discount programs.

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