Empire State utility providers no longer can charge a fee for termination or early cancellation of energy contracts in the event a customer dies.
New York became the first state in the union to pass such consumer protection legislation (A8630A) on September 20;and it was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) on September 27. A civil penalty of up to $1,000 will be placed on providers that violate this law. The measure takes effect immediately.
“This was a heartless and inappropriate policy that is mostly borne by grieving New Yorkers grappling with the loss of a loved one,” Empire State Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) commented. “Ending these fees is the right thing to do and will spare those in mourning from this annoying burden.”
Many companies use early termination fees to ensure that a customer continues to use a service through the full contract period. Under this new law, not only energy providers, but also landline, cell phone, television, Internet, and water service suppliers are prohibited from charging contract termination or early cancellation fees if a customer dies before the end of an agreement.
New York State Assembly member Aileen Gunther (D) said, “This law was written in memory of my mother Therese Malone. After she passed away, a utility company tried to charge her account an early termination fee. I wondered, if this was happening to my family, how many others have been taken advantage of. I thank the Governor for signing this bill into law and joining me in protecting families across New York State. My mother was a generous, caring woman who was guided by her faith. She would be pleased that, even after her passing, she was able to help others.”
Senator John Bonacic (R) stated, “I’m pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed this common-sense, pro-consumer legislation into law. It is wrong for companies to charge early termination, or cancellation fees to deceased individuals, and I am proud to have sponsored the legislation that will prohibit this practice.”