Skip to Main Content
ajax loader animation
ajax loader animation

USF and Fresh Start Programs

As of October 1, 2023, USF income guidelines have changed. Please visit to apply.

Universal Service Fund (USF)

If your income falls within a certain range, the Universal Service Fund (USF) can help make your energy bill more affordable to help pay for natural gas and electricity.

Find out if you qualify in New Jersey. If you apply for LIHEAP you are also applying for USF. You may apply online at Or, you may download an application and email it to You can also call the toll free hotline at 1-866-240-1347.

Fresh Start Program

Universal Service Fund (USF) Program recipients with arrears greater than $60 at the time of enrollment will be automatically enrolled into the Fresh Start Program. 

The Fresh Start Program is a utility debt forgiveness plan that helps improve your payment record in twelve months.

  • Your overdue balance will be placed on hold. 
  • You will receive a credit for 1/12th of your overdue balance every month if you pay your current charges minus your USF credit every month, for one year. 
  • If you meet the payment criteria for twelve months, we will erase your prior overdue balance.

If you do not receive the full arrears forgiveness by the end of the twelve-month program, you will be given a three month grace period to catch up on past due bills and earn Fresh Start Program back credits. Any remaining balance on hold will be billed back to you at the end of the Fresh Start Program term.

Effective October 1, 2024, USF recipients will only be eligible for the Fresh Start Program once every five years.