ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Major utilities in New York state have agreed to help federal workers who may be struggling to pay their electrical bills because of the partial government shutdown.

The state's Public Service Commission announced Thursday that National Grid, Consolidated Edison and other big power providers will work with federal employees who have been furloughed or are working without pay.

State officials say the type of assistance will vary by company but options include waiving late fees or extending payment due dates.

John Rhodes, the chairman of the Public Service Commission, says the shutdown is taking a significant toll on many families. He says the voluntary assistance offered by utilities will ensure that workers impacted by the shutdown won't have to worry about paying their electric bill during the winter.

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