Offering Financial Support to Customers

Eligible, low-income households can receive up to $15,000 to pay water bills. Sign up today: click to learn more about the program and how you can apply. Recipients of CalFresh, CalWORKs, and LIHEAP are automatically income-qualified for LIHWAP assistance.May 25, 2023
by Theresa Baptiste, Director of Customer Service

So far, 2023 has proven to be a year of uncertainty with ongoing inflation and the rising cost of living. These compound the challenges many households have faced—especially since Covid—as they continue to struggle to manage their monthly bills, including water. According to the California State Water Resources Control Board, Californians owed more than $315 million in unpaid water bills during the peak of the pandemic.

At Cal Water, our customers are the heart and soul of our communities, and our top priority is to provide safe, clean, reliable, and affordable water service to them. We recognize the hardships that many of our customers face and are committed to providing them with support to protect their peace of mind and keep their water flowing.

The federal government recognizes the need to assist Americans with their water bill as well. Enacted by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan, the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) now provides financial assistance of up to $15,000 to eligible low-income California families through the State’s Department of Community Services and Development, to help them manage their residential water utility costs. Since its establishment, LIHWAP has helped nearly 400,000 families across the country maintain access to their water supply.

While leading water associations—including those we are part of—are calling on Congress to make LIHWAP a permanent, ongoing program to help the 20 million U.S. households that face challenges in paying their bills, the program could expire at the end of this year. This is one reason why Cal Water is committed to getting the word out, so our customers can take advantage of this program and receive much-needed funds.

As one of the water utilities enrolled in LIHWAP, Cal Water has helped more than 1,000 of our customers receive direct payments of financial assistance. With the increased benefit amount recently announced and the program’s potential expiration date, we are actively encouraging our residential customers who qualify to apply for the program today. We are also working with community-based organizations to host in-person events in our districts to help customers sign up, and will share more information about pop-up LIHWAP application events soon.

Beyond federal and state programs, we offer other assistance programs for eligible residential customers with privacy and flexibility in mind. Earlier this year, we launched our latest customer assistance partnership with PromisePay, a third-party payment platform, to offer customizable, interest-free payment plans that allow eligible customers to structure a plan best suited to their needs.

For customers not eligible for PromisePay, we offer the ability to set up alternative payment arrangements, also interest-free, to split up past-due payments over several months. Additionally, those already enrolled in verified public assistance programs or who meet maximum income limits can qualify for Cal Water’s Customer Assistance Program (CAP), which provides a monthly discount on water bills.

At Cal Water, we will continue to prioritize new opportunities and partnerships to make water bills easier to manage and that make a meaningful difference for those who are struggling. For more information on LIHWAP, please visit the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program page. For more information on Cal Water’s other customer assistance programs, visit the We’re Here to Help page.