“Given the critical importance of personal hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the potential for economic disruptions that may present our customers with unique financial hardships that may affect their ability to pay on time, we feel this action is necessary and appropriate to ensure that no one is without water service at this critical time," said PWSA board chair Paul Leger in a press release.
While the PWSA will not shut off water and sewage services due to unpaid bills during the pandemic, it does not give full relief to customers. Customers will still be billed for services, and once the moratorium is lifted, they could have services shut off for unpaid bills.
PWSA waived two requirements for financial assistance for the rest of the year. Customers who use the Bill Discount Program will not have to "recertify their income with Dollar Energy Fund every 12 months." PWSA has also waived the requirement that customers make a "sincere effort payment of $150 and $75 for senior citizens before they can access cash assistance grants."
Duquesne Light Company has taken similar actions, extending its moratorium on electricity shut-offs to June 1 and allowing for more customers to access financial assistance programs.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, local politicians have been calling for moratoriums on utility bills, rent, and evictions. Councilor Deb Gross (D-Highland Park) drafted a Will of Council in March calling for moratoriums that "addresses the serious need for equity in the city’s response to the national health crisis."