November 28, 2022
Today, Governor Hochul vetoed S5451-C/A7554-B, which would have required the NYS Department of Public Service to collect data on the affordability of water, gas, and electric utility service. The bill was especially important to ascertain the scale and extent of water unaffordability in New York. Public water utilities are not currently required to disclose data on how many customers cannot afford their bills, how many water shut-offs they conduct, and more. In September, New Jersey enacted legislation similar to S5451-C/A7554-A.
Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water for Environmental Advocates NY, said, “We are deeply disappointed that Governor Hochul vetoed legislation to bring much-needed transparency to New York’s water affordability crisis. We currently do not know how many New Yorkers have had their water shut off, how much debt they owe, and other critical data. The Governor’s veto will leave New York woefully behind other states like New Jersey that have taken strides to address this issue, and will keep many economically struggling New Yorkers hidden from view. We can’t fix what we don’t measure. We strongly urge Governor Hochul to include this bill in her upcoming state budget, so that New York can make progress towards ensuring affordable water for all.”