I am facing a health emergency, having trouble paying my bills and I need my utilities to stay on.

What is a medical certification letter?

A medical certification letter is a letter from your doctor to your utility company. In this letter, your doctor tells the utility company that you need your utilities to stay on for medical reasons.

When your utility company is notified by your doctor that you are experiencing a medical emergency or medical condition that could be made worse if your utilities were shut off, it has to keep your service on or restore your service for 30 days.

This certificate may be renewed every 30 days by the doctor who must state how long the condition will last, explain the nature of the condition and why the lack of utility service would make the condition worse.

You must show why you are unable to pay your utility bill.

What should the letter say?

The letter must include a statement that the lack of utility service would “aggravate the condition” and a request that the utilities be kept on no matter what for 30 days.

The letter should also be on doctors stationery, with the doctor's office address and doctor’s license number. It may be signed by a doctor, a physician's assistant or a nurse practitioner.

The letter should include your name, address, phone number, and account number with PSEG.

The letter should say why you need electricity during the medical emergency (LIPA Tariff pp. 125-7)

Where should the letter be sent?

Your doctor can mail or fax the letter.

If you live on Long Island, the doctor can mail or fax the letter to PSEG Long Island.

PSEG Long Island 15 Park Drive Melville, NY 11747

Fax the letter to PSEG LI at 631-844-3635

What will happen after my doctor sends the letter?

PSEG must notify you in writing that they have received and approved your medical certification letter. If they have approved the medical certification letter, your utilities should not be shut off in the next 30 days.

What do I do if PSEG denies my medical certification letter or does not respond?

If there is no response, do not assume medical certification was accepted. Call PSEG Customer Service and DPS. If necessary, follow up with appeal/complaint.

You can register a complaint about the denial with a PSEG Manager by calling 1-800-490-0025. Tell the manager that you want to follow the steps to appeal the decision. See Utility complaints for more information.

Do I still need to pay my bill?

During the medical emergency your obligation to pay the bill is suspended. You may owe a large amount at the end of the medical emergency.

PSEG must work out a payment arrangement with you so that when the medical emergency is over you do not have a huge bill. The Public Service Commission can help you work out a payment plan with PSEG.

How do I renew a medical certification?

Upon receiving first certification, PSEG must notify customer in writing of decision and provide forms and information for renewal.

If medical necessity continues, before original medical certification expires in 30 days, submit another medical certification letter and explain why you can't pay your bill in a financial disclosure form.

You are still responsible for payments. If you cannot pay the full bill, PSEG must work out a payment arrangement with you so that when the medical emergency is over you do not have a huge bill.

Continue renewing this way every 30 days if you are still dealing with your medical condition.

What if my condition is chronic or I need power for a ventilator or dialysis?

If your medical condition is chronic, a longer time period can be approved.

If you need utility service because you use a life support system (ventilator, dialysis machine) the doctor's certificate remains effective unless terminated by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Your utility will make a note on your account to ensure your service is not shut off. However, every three months, you still need to show your utility why you can't pay your bill. I need more information.

Check out this FAQ from the Utility Project, a NY non-profit that advocates for universal and affordable utility service.

For more information, you can visit the PSEG website.

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