PULP in Crisis Mode
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY – An Albany-based non-profit consumer advocacy group falls victim to the faltering economy - and the late New York State budget. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
PULP, The Public Utility Law Project of New York, had been hanging on by a thread, waiting for its usual share of state aid, which has been severely cut back. Since the energy-crisis years of the late 1970s, PULP Executive Director Gerald Norlander says the agency has been a beacon of hope for low-income utility customers, arguing and litigating on their behalf. More than 90 percent of the organization's $500,000 budget historically came from state aid. Aid that the legislature has cut by 98 per cent! Norlander says bills have piled up, the rent hasn't been paid, the agency's credit and other resources have been exhausted. PULP stopped meeting payroll at the end of June. Norlander warns that without continued legislative funding it will be necessary for PULP to lay off all staff, halt all services, cease operations, file for bankruptcy, and seek pro bono counsel to complete pending cases where PULP is attorney of record.