by Alex Lloyd Gross
With a lot of people still out of work from the pandemic, the city decided not to terminate water service until the summer of this year. That has been extended into April 1 2021. People still have to pay their bills in full but if they cannot, they will not be losing their service. Those that had their water service shut off during the pandemic got their service turned back on. The Water Department said that number was about 15,000 customers.
“We’re ensuring people continue to have access to clean water because it is essential to public health. It is critical that customers who can’t pay their bill use this extended period of shut-off protection to get in touch with us,” says Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman. “We have staff and programs that can help you avoid a big debt once we get through this crisis and shut-offs resume. No one should wait until the last minute.”
The Water Revenue Bureau is currently waiving penalties and fees on delinquent accounts until further notice. However, the principal balance will continue to grow with each missed payment.
All account holders are still required to pay their bills and should do so if possible. Water bills fund vital infrastructure investments in Philadelphia.
Anyone unable to pay should apply for help immediately at phila.gov/waterbillhelp or by calling (215) 685-6300.
Options for help include:
- Assistance: The Tiered Assistance Program allows qualifying customers to get discounted water rates and have past-due bills removed from the collections process. Any customer experiencing special hardship should apply.
- Unexpected medical bills, unemployment, or the loss of a family member may be considered special hardship. All applications are decided case-by-case.
- Payment Agreements: Customers who do not qualify for assistance should set up a payment agreement by speaking with representatives at (215) 685-6300 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Due to the number of customers in need, assistance is more flexible than ever. Some customers may have a lower down payment and more time to pay.