Shine A Light On Your Utility Rights

A final termination notice. The heating bill that’s four times what it was last month. A summons to court to meet with Con Ed. In all of these situations, you have rights—and there are resources available to New Yorkers who struggle to pay their utility bills. These consumer rights and programs are especially important for low-income people across New York State, who often have to choose between paying their utility bills and basic necessities like rent, food, medication, and school supplies. But consumers are often unaware of the rights they have to keep their essential electric and gas service. 

That’s why CUP, Public Utility Law Project (PULP), and designer Hanna Kim teamed up to create Shine A Light On Your Utility Rights, the first guide to illustrate utility consumers’ rights in New York State. Simple text and visuals spell out practical steps you can take to tackle common utility problems, from being behind on your bills to dealing with a shutoff notice. At the center of the guide is a poster that helps people understand how to file complaints and access resources that can help them pay their bills.

PULP is distributing Shine A Light On Your Utility Rights to people across New York State in in-person trainings and through legal services organizations, housing rights advocates, and elected officials. PULP plans to present the guide at community meetings, health fairs, community board events, and senior centers.

Resources & Links

Public Utility Law Project is a 35-year-old statewide independent not-for-profit law firm whose sole mission is to advocate for low-, middle-, and fixed-income New York utility ratepayers.

Hanna Kim is an artist and a designer who finds joy in reimagining complex or abstract information through visual communication. Through design, she strives for a more beautiful, just, and coherent world.

Making Policy Public is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). CUP partners with policy advocates and graphic designers to produce foldout posters that explain complicated policy issues, like this one.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Adolfo Abreu, Claude Copeland, Christine Gaspar, Ronn Jordan, Sharon Martin, Tricia Meroe, LaChanda Moor, Kyle Muckette, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, Oscar Nuñez, NYS Senator Kevin Parker and his staff, Jazlyn Patricio-Archer, Ruby Ramsey, Frampton Tolbert, Ashley Torres, NYC Council Member Ritchie Torres and his staff, Mark Torrey, Jenn Anne Williams, Tara Williams

Participants

  • CUP
    Ingrid Haftel
  • Deja Holden
    Nick Johnson
  • Public Utility Law Project
    Advocacy Partner
    Rachel Burd
    Richard A. Berkley
  • Designer
  • Hanna Kim

Press

QUEENS RESIDENTS TURN THE HEAT UP ON UTILITIES
  • NY1 News
  • March 09, 2018

The Public Utility Law Project and State Senator Leroy Comrie’s office hosted a free clinic on Friday, helping residents go through their utility bills. 

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