Cal Water has filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board to help provide financial support to customers who were unable to pay their water bills during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding, which Cal Water advocated to help secure, will enable the utility to forgive past-due balances incurred by its customers between March 2020 and mid-June 2021.
In the application, Cal Water requested $20.8 million in relief for customers across its California service areas. The company anticipates receiving final approval by the State Water Resources Control Board around the first of the year. Customers do not have to apply for the debt forgiveness; if approved, Cal Water will apply any credits to affected customers’ accounts within 60 days after receiving funding from the state, expected to be in early 2022.
“While life is returning to some sense of normalcy from the coronavirus, we know that many of our customers continue to struggle to make ends meet,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, President and CEO. “Providing debt forgiveness is one way we can keep our customers who are experiencing financial hardship from having to worry about their water bill.”
This measure is the latest step by Cal Water to support customers who have been financially affected by the pandemic. In addition to the debt forgiveness application, customers with remaining balances that pre-date the pandemic or have accrued after June 15, 2021, can take advantage of interest- and penalty-free payment plans or extensions, preventing them from becoming subject to potential disruptions in water service after the moratorium on disconnections for non-payment expires. 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.
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