Financially strapped customers in California with past-due water bills accumulated during the pandemic will soon see relief, as Cal Water has secured funds from the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program (Program), administered by the State Water Resources Control Board.
Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Program enables water suppliers to apply for financial support on behalf of customers unable to pay their water bills from March 4, 2020 to June 15, 2021.
In late November 2021, Cal Water had requested $20.8 million in relief for customers across its California service areas. The utility received 100 percent of the requested amount and will apply credits to affected customers’ accounts within two months.
Cal Water plans to notify those receiving credits directly in February.
“While COVID-19 has affected our customers in a number of ways, we are pleased to provide this assistance to those who continue to experience financial hardship,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, President and CEO.
“We sincerely thank Congress for making these funds available, the California Legislature and Governor Newsom for establishing this important program, and the State Water Resources Control Board for administering the plan. We are here to support our customers and help relieve some of the stress caused by the pandemic.”
This measure is just one step taken by Cal Water to help customers who have been financially affected by the pandemic.
Customers with remaining balances that pre-date the pandemic or have accrued after June 15, 2021, can take advantage of Cal Water’s interest- and penalty-free payment plans or extensions, subject to certain terms and conditions, helping to prevent them from becoming subject to potential disruptions in water service in the future.
Income-eligible customers may also enroll in Cal Water’s Customer Assistance Program, which provides qualifying customers with a discount on their monthly service charge.