Information for Customers and Water Utilities
Are you a customer with past due utility bills?
Call your utility. Make a plan. Keep your service.
Below are tips to help you during this stressful time. The most important step is to call your water system. Many water systems offer payment plans or temporary discounts on your bills if you can make a partial payment on what you owe. Contact your water system to explain your situation and ask about their payment plan options.
Customers with limited income.
- Washington State Department of Commerce Utility Assistance.
For customers with limited income or are supported through the LIHEAP program. The local Community Action Agencies offer this program. They may have additional resources outside of the Utility Assistance program.
Additional resources for those not on the lease, not the customer of record with utility billing, or who have an overdue bill on a closed account.
- Contact the Community Services Call Center at DSHS at 877-501-2233. Ask about the Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP).
- Landlord/Tenant Issues.
- Free legal services for Washington State residents.
- Dispute Resolution Centers in Washington State.
Find resources specific to your county or community by calling 2-1-1 or visiting 211.org.
- Si desea presentar una queja y necesita ayuda, llame al 2-1-1. Es un servicio gratuito. También puede encontrar el 2-1-1 en Internet haciendo clic en el siguiente enlace www.211.org.
- Nếu quý vị muốn than phiền và cần giúp đỡ, vui lòng gọi 2-1-1, đây là dịch vụ miễn phí. Quý vị cũng có thể tìm thấy 2-1-1 trực tuyến tại www.211.org.
- Если Вы желаете подать жалобу и нуждаетесь в помощи, пожалуйста, звоните по номеру 2-1-1. Услуги службы 211 являются бесплатными. Службой 211 можно также воспользоваться и в интернете по следующему адресу www.211.org.
- Якщо Ви бажаєте звернутись зі скаргою та потребуєте допомоги, будь ласка, телефонуйте на номер 2-1-1. Послуги служби 211 є безкоштовними. Послугами служби 211 можна також скористатися й у всемережжі за такою адресою www.211.org.
- Kung nais mong magreklamo at humingi ng tulong, mangyaring tumawag sa 2-1-1. Ito ay libreng serbisyo. Maaari mo ring matagpuan ang 2-1-1 online www.211.org.
If you believe your water shut-off was inconsistent with your water system's service agreement, contact ODW.Mail@doh.wa.gov. Our staff will work to understand the reason for the shut-off and provide you with guidance so you can understand how your water system will restore your service.
Developing Customer Assistance Programs
We understand running a water utility is a complex business of providing the important public health service of safe and reliable drinking water, with a variety of fixed costs for providing this service. Water systems must cover the costs of daily operations and maintenance to ensure continuous service that meets existing and new federal and state drinking water regulations. Rising costs of replacing aging infrastructure, new regulatory requirements, and the increased economic divide is impacting low-income customers who are most vulnerable to rate increases.
The COVID-19 pandemic identified the importance of developing customer assistance plans. To support competing interests of providing this essential public health service to all community members and the cost of providing safe and reliable drinking water, utilities need to develop household affordability programs to focus on individual customer’s ability to pay for drinking water. Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs) are not one-size-fits-all. The program needs to meet both the community and the utility’s needs. These programs help households address issues with affordability and help protect public health throughout the community.
- Environmental Finance Center.
- Sample Payment Plan (PDF).
- National Resource Defense Council Water Affordability Business Case Downloadable Tool.
- Funding made available for water and wastewater bill payment assistance and utilities in federal Coronavirus relief programs (PDF).
- Drinking Water and Wastewater Utility Customer Assistance Programs (PDF).
- Best Practices in Customer Payment Assistance Programs.
- Regulating Rates that Fund Customer Assistance Programs at Small Water Systems (PDF) (starting on page 35).
Thank you to utilities that participated in the revenue impact and customer assistance program surveys. We used your input to help find opportunities to provide technical assistance to you during the pandemic.