New Program Helps PA Households Pay Water Bills

By Emily Scott, Public News Service
For The Posts

HARRISBURG PA – As the COVID-19 Omicron variant surges across Pennsylvania, affecting its residents’ health and economic security, a new program aims to help those in the Commonwealth who need financial assistance to pay overdue water bills.

The state this week launched its Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, a federally funded service to help households struggling to pay their water bills on time. The state received $43.2 million for the program through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Meg Snead, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, said access to clean drinking water and wastewater services is vital in helping families live healthy lives.

“This program is for those who have past-due water bills, had their service terminated, or received a notice that their service will be terminated in the next 60 days,” she said. Families must meet income requirements. Grants are issued directly to water-service providers. Households can receive one grant of up to $2,500 for water bills, and one grant for up to the same amount for wastewater services.

More information is available online, here.

Potential applicants also can also visit one of the department’s county assistance offices for in-person support. They’re located:

  • In Montgomery County, at 24 Robinson St., Pottstown, or by calling toll-free to 1-800-641-3940; and at 1931 New Hope St., Norristown, 1-800-641-3940;
  • In Berks County, at the Reading State Office Building, 625 Cherry St., Reading, 1-866-215-3912; and
  • In Chester County, at 100 James Buchanan Dr., Thorndale, 1-888-814-4698.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille recommended consumers also should have direct conversations with their utility providers to ensure essential services stay on. They need to determine what assistance, if any, they might be qualify for.

“We know there are households across the state facing the uncertainty and the stress of worrying about their utility bills,” Dutrieuille said, “including some who’ve never had to experience these problems before.”

The same residents, depending on their circumstances, may also be eligible for similar assistance from the state – its Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – to help pay gas and electric bills.

Photo by KOBU Agency via Unsplash, used under license