For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian.Rademaekers@phila.gov | 215.380.9327
Water Dept. Hosts Events to Help Customers Enroll in Assistance Programs
Some residential customers will start getting shutoff notices for unpaid bills this month. #UtilityFairsPHL assistance fairs will help those unable to pay get enrolled in assistance programs and avoid losing service.
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia utility customers who cannot afford to pay their bills are urged to attend upcoming Utility Fair events designed to boost assistance program enrollment by making it easier to fill out paperwork and forms.
Customers having trouble paying bills may qualify for lower monthly payments and can get personalized help from customer assistance experts by signing up for a Utility Fair appointment at water.phila.gov/utility-fairs.
Virtual events will be held on Wednesdays in June from 4–8 p.m. on Zoom and are by appointment only. Customers must register at water.phila.gov/utility-fairs.
An in-person Utility Fair will also take place at Community of Compassion CDC:
- Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Community of Compassion CDC, 6150 Cedar Ave., Phila. Pa., 19143
Organized by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) in partnership with PECO and Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), the events encourage residents to apply for customer assistance now before enforcement actions on delinquent accounts, such as shutoffs, resume.
Customers who register for the event can also get information about assistance and grants from the Utilities Emergency Service Funds (UESF) program. More information about UESF grants is available at uesfacts.org, or by calling (215) 814-6837.
Residential Water Shutoffs Resuming
While assistance was expanded at the start of the pandemic and new protections were introduced this year on May 31, water shutoffs for past-due residential accounts will resume July 18, 2022.
The first shutoff notices will be mailed out June 13.
Philadelphia has not shutoff residential water customers for nonpayment in more than two years, with a moratorium established in late 2019.
Applying for assistance now can help customers avoid losing water service and having to pay restoration fees.
What to Expect at Utility Fairs
#UtilityFairsPHL sessions will feature customer service staff from PWD and PECO. PGW customers can sign up to have a representative reach out to them directly for assistance. The effort is organized through the utilities and community organizations.
Qualifying water customers will be enrolled in the program that provides the biggest savings. In order for staff to determine the best fit, customers must provide documents showing household income and other information.
Customers can request an application or apply for assistance at www.phila.gov/water-bill-help. Applications can also be requested by calling (215) 685-6300.
More Help from State Programs
While customers will not be able to get help with enrolling in these programs at the June Utility Fairs, these are important resources that can help with paying off back bills:
- Customers with past-due water bills may also be eligible for grants from the new Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Philadelphia customers do not need to have a shutoff notice to apply and may receive up to $5,000 towards delinquent water bills. Customers can learn more and apply at https://www.dhs.pa.gov/waterhelp. LIHWAP is a temporary program and funds are expected to be depleted this summer.
- An alternative program through the Pennsylvania Homeowners Assistance Fund provides assistance for delinquent water and sewer bills, among others. The maximum utility assistance is capped at $8,000. Homeowners can find out if they qualify at pahaf.org.