ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Low-income New Yorkers will now have access to credits that will help them pay past utility bills, which will be reflected on August bills.

It’s called the Energy Affordability Program. Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement Thursday and says the first roll-outs for the $567 million in funding will start Monday, August 1st.

Governor Hochul said the program includes $250 million from the statewide COVID-19 bill credit program— adopted by the New York State Public Service Commission — that has been adopted by the now be used for these utility credits.

Hochul said that “low-income” New Yorkers will have access to these credits, but did not specify an income that is considered “low-income,” but estimated that more than 327,000 New Yorkers will be eligible. The governor’s office also said that the number of people who are more than two months behind on utility bills has increased at an “unprecedented” rate.

As called for by the FY 2023 state budget, the one-time credit from the Energy Affordability Program will “eliminate unpaid utility bills that have accrued through May 1, 2022.”

Any person that applies before December 31, 2022 will be included. 

“I am pleased to announce that the largest low-income utility financial assistance program in the state’s history rolls-out on Monday, August 1 – marking a major step forward in the state’s ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers maintain utility services,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “No New Yorker should have their lights and air conditioning shut off as a result of financial problems caused by the pandemic. I applaud the State Legislature for their partnership to appropriate $250 million toward reducing the burden of utility arrears, which will be critical to helping vulnerable New Yorkers maintain their utility services, especially during these hot summer months.”