Philly extends moratorium on water shut-offs through April 2022

Single Water Meter

Water meters. (Fahroni/BigStock)

The Philadelphia Water Department is once again freezing shut-offs for residential customers.

The water will stay on for those unable to pay their utility bills through April 2022, officials announced Monday.

The city typically suspends water service shut-offs in the winter months, between Dec. 1 and March 31, but it has extended that period during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 70,000 customers have been spared shut-offs since the start of the pandemic, while another 15,000 customers whose water had been shut off have had their service restored, according to the city.

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Customers enrolled in the city’s Tiered Assistance or Senior Citizen Discount programs will not face any penalties or enforcement measures until April 1, 2022. The Water Department will begin collecting on overdue water bills on May 1, 2021, for those not in those two assistance programs. The city will refer unpaid bills to collections agencies starting Aug. 2.

The department said it is making payment arrangements with non-residential customers, who could face shut-off enforcement starting this summer.

Customers unable to pay their water bill can apply for help online or call 215-685-6300. Those who don’t qualify for discounts are able to set up lengthy payment plans, though a down payment may be required.

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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