WSSC Water Continues to Suspend Service Shutoffs and Waive Late Fees to Assist Financially Struggling Customers
Customers Urged to Contact Maryland’s Largest Water Utility to Establish Convenient Payment Plans
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
**Customer Alert: Got an Estimated Bill? Find Out What to Do**
Laurel, Md. – November 13, 2020 – WSSC Water continues to suspend service shutoffs and waive late fees to assist financially struggling customers impacted by Covid-19. While the Maryland Public Service Commission moratorium on utility shut-offs ends on November 15, 2020, it does not apply to WSSC Water – Maryland’s largest water utility serving 1.8 million customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. WSSC Water’s ongoing assistance efforts will ensure safe, clean water continues to flow to customer’s homes during these difficult times.
WSSC Water is urging customers with past due bills to call and set up a convenient and flexible payment plan. Eight months into the pandemic, WSSC Water is experiencing a 73 percent increase in the amount of money owed to WSSC Water compared to this time last year. As of November 9, 2020, there was $61 million in past-due accounts (nearly 97,000 accounts) compared to $35 million (approximately 75,000 accounts) on November 9, 2019.
“The last thing we want to do is add stress to an already stressful time,” said WSSC Water General Manager & CEO Carla A. Reid. “Water is essential, especially now during the pandemic. We will continue to waive late fees and suspend service shutoffs to help our customers. We ask that customers with past-due accounts to reach out to us. We are here to help.”
WSSC Water is sending letters and making automated phone calls to encourage customers to contact WSSC Water to set up a payment plan. Customers with higher balances are also receiving proactive phone calls to help them better understand the status of their account.
Here to Help: Contact Us
Please visit wsscwater.com/heretohelp for more information. Customer Service Advisors are available 7:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m., Monday–Friday, and can be reached at 301-206-4001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here to Help: Water Affordability
Because of the pandemic’s economic impact, WSSC Water included $3.2 million in its current Fiscal Year 2021 budget - a $324,000 increase from last fiscal year’s budget - to help more customers struggling to pay their water and sewer bills. To learn more about WSSC Water’s customer assistance programs, visit the assistance page. Eligibility requirements do apply.
Here to Help: Estimated Bills
To protect public health during this crisis, WSSC Water suspended non-emergency, in-home work, which includes reading inside meters. As a result, more customers are receiving estimated bills based on prior year’s usage during the same billing period. WSSC Water is asking customers that received an estimated bill, and have an inside water meter, to provide the actual reading so the account can be updated. Customers can learn how to locate their water meter and submit the actual reading to WSSC Water here. An actual meter reading allows customers to better manage their water use and determine if they have a leak. Undetected water leaks can lead to very high bills.
Here to Help: Water-Saving Tips
For months, WSSC Water also has been providing water-saving tips to customers knowing their in-home usage would increase.
Here are several ways customers can save water now and save money on their bill:
- Turn off the faucet to lather and scrub when washing hands
- Take shorter showers
- Use the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand
- Find and repair any leaks*
*Toilet leaks are the most common cause of high water bills. Check out this video to learn how to detect one of these silent, but expensive leaks.
The Budget Impact of Covid-19
The sudden economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major economic impact on WSSC Water’s budget. Due to decreased water usage from commercial customers and increased unemployment impacting residential customers, WSSC Water experienced $31.4 million in lost revenue in FY20 and projects a $31.7 million revenue loss in FY21. To offset these losses, WSSC Water has identified more than $130 million in one-time targeted budget cuts ($57.4 million in FY20; $72.7 million in FY21), while ensuring mission-critical functions remain fully funded. This includes fully funding the purchase of personal protection equipment to ensure the continued safety of frontline employees. WSSC Water is closely monitoring the financial impact of Covid-19 to determine if more budget reductions will be necessary.
WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.