Signed last month, P.L. 2023, c.33, requires any municipal water and wastewater utility or authority to enter into a vendor contract with the DCA to participate in the LIHWAP. LIHWAP is a federal program being administered by the DCA that provides assistance to low-income households that have fallen behind on their water and/or sewer bills.
Under the new law, water and sewer service providers are required to provide notice about the LIHWAP program on every bill and written communication to a customer, and on their website, and disconnection protection is provided for customers who have been approved by DCA to participate in the program. Utility providers are also required to provide customer arrearage data to DCA to facilitate DCA’s administration of the program. Providers are subject to penalties of $500/day for discontinuing service to a customer in violation of the law’s requirements, and $100 for failure to advertise eligibility for the program.
LFN 2023-09 provides guidance to local units that directly bill residential ratepayers for water and/or sewer on their obligations under the new law and the accompanying vendor agreement. This guidance includes additional information on the notice and advertisement requirements regarding the LIHWAP program, such as bill inserts, and the reporting requirements.
In addition, LFN 2023-09 provides information related to a local unit or utilities’ obligations under the Winter Termination Program. The Winter Termination Program allows eligible residential customers to avoid service shutoff from November 15 through March 15 for non-payment of water, sewer, or electric service provided by a local unit.
You should review this information with your professionals to ensure compliance with these requirements.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x137.