Philly extends freeze on residential water shutoffs, offers virtual utility fairs

Rowhouses at 33rd and Huntingdon streets

Rowhouses at 33rd and Huntingdon streets in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s freeze of residential water shutoffs during the coronavirus pandemic has been extended until June 30, the city announced on Thursday.

The move is aimed to give more time for customers who are struggling to pay their utilities to apply for assistance.

The Philadelphia Water Department has partnering with PECO, Philadelphia Gas Works, and community organizations to host a series of virtual utility fairs on Wednesday evenings in February and March from 4–8 p.m. and select Saturdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. to help customers get started with the paperwork for the applications.

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Customer service staff from PWD and PECO will be on hand at the session. Those who need help from PGW can have representatives reach out to them directly.

Those interested can register for the utility fairs online.

Customers with past-due water bills may also be eligible to apply for grants from the new Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, with up to $5,000 towards unpaid water bills possible.

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Broke in PhillyWHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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