With thousands out of work and struggling to pay their bills, consumer advocates are pushing for the state to extend its moratorium on utility shutoffs; the moratorium is set to expire on March 15. The Board of Public Utilities held its first public meeting on the issue Monday, hearing from stakeholders who said residents have fallen behind on their bills and it’s unclear how they will be able to pay them. It’s estimated that New Jersey customers could owe a total of $600 million. Advocates argued some sort of forgiveness program may be needed.
There is a sense of frustration in Fair Lawn, where the Nabisco plant will be shutting down, resulting in hundreds of layoffs. Rep. Josh Gottheimer says the plant’s owner, Mondelez, was not open to any offer to keep the factory open. Gottheimer says reducing the tax burden is key to attracting new companies to the state. He was one of the lawmakers who introduced legislation in Congress to repeal the SALT cap.
Some 7,00 Citibank customers in New Jersey will be getting a refund for overcharges on their credit cards. The state Attorney General’s Office announced a more than $1 million settlement with Citibank that will result in customer refunds averaging $159. This, after an investigation found Citibank failed to properly lower credit card interest rates for consumers who were entitled to reductions.
COVID-19 has changed commuting patterns in the state, with some people splitting their time between working in the office and working from home. In response to that, NJ Transit has introduced a new ticket called FlexPass. It’s a 20-trip ticket that’s sold at a discounted price. Sales of the traditional monthly passes have declined.