Here’s another piece of good news for Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) customers who may be falling behind on their water and electric bill payments due to COVID-19: PWP is seeking a resolution from the City Council to participate in two new utility assistance programs specifically aimed at customers who have been delinquent with their bills.
These programs – the California Arrearage Payment Program and the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program – provide federal funds, administered through state agencies, to help customers, both residential and commercial, who have fallen into delinquent status on their electricity and water bills between March 4, 2020 and June 15, 2021.
On Tuesday, September 28, the Municipal Services Committee will evaluate PWP’s recommendation prior to passing it on to the full City Council next week. Participating in any of these programs require a separate resolution from the City Council.
The way they are structured, the programs, according to PWP, require utilities to apply for participation, while individual customers need not apply for bill assistance. Customers, instead, will receive credit to be applied to their electric, water and sewer service bills if their accounts are determined to be eligible for assistance under any or both programs.
The City likewise will not issue checks or payments under the programs directly to PWP customers.
In compliance with the legislation, PWP also commits to not impose late fees or penalties and will not be disconnecting service for past due accounts while the programs are in effect.
“PWP’s participation in the programs will help provide customers with much-needed relief from past due utility bills, and will reduce uncollected accounts receivable to improve the financial position of the City’s utilities,” PWP said in the report.
The state will use funds provided by the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to implement the California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) and the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program (CWWAPP).
In the state’s Budget Act of 2021, an appropriation of $993.5 million from ARPA will be used for CAPP to cover electricity service, and another $985 million was appropriated for the CWWAPP covering water and sewer services.
PWP said once the resolutions are approved by the City Council, the City can submit all eligible outstanding bill amounts by December. Once the state administrators get all submissions from utility providers, funding allocations under both programs may be made available by the first half of 2022.
In the meantime, PWP encourages customers to avail of a number of bill assistance support for low-income customers, as well as to apply for other federal and state programs available for rental assistance and utility bills through the “Housing is Key” program and the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). For more information, visit www.PWPweb.com/