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The Long Island Progressive Coalition and the Public Utility Law Project of New York are hosting a workshop in Riverhead tonight about how low-income PSEG Long Island and National Grid customers can leverage a state program to eliminate their utility debt.

The workshop will be held at the First Baptist Church at 1018 Northville Turnpike starting at 5:30 p.m. and provide free filing assistance, free postage to send in an application and a workshop on the energy debt crisis, according to an online event posting. You can RSVP for the event by visiting that website.

54,000 National Grid customers and 119,000 PSEG customers are behind on their utility bills, according to the advocacy groups. Prices of utilities have also surged in recent months because of a myriad of economic factors, including supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The New York State Public Service Commission adopted the $557 million program on June 16.

To qualify for the program, which forgives debt generated before May 1, 2022 in full, customers must currently be enrolled in the utility’s monthly low income bill discount program or enroll by the end of this year. Customers can also qualify if they have received a benefit under various government assistance programs.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: