WSSC Water Experiences Increase in Past Due Accounts Due to Covid-19

Customers Urged to Contact Maryland’s Largest Water Utility to Establish Convenient Payment Plans

| News Release

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WSSC Water Continues to Suspend Service Shutoffs and Waive Late Fees

**Customer Alert: Got an Estimated Bill? Find Out What to Do**

Laurel, Md. – October 20, 2020 – Seven months into the Covid-19 pandemic, WSSC Water is experiencing a substantial increase in past due accounts. There is an 82 percent increase in the amount of money currently owed to the utility compared to this time last year. As of October 16, 2020, there was $58.4 million in past due accounts (nearly 95,000 accounts) compared to $32.1 million (approximately 72,000 accounts) on October 16, 2019. WSSC Water has invested millions into affordability programs to assist customers struggling to pay their water and sewer bill and is urging customers to contact the utility to establish convenient payment plans.

“Everyone at WSSC Water remains committed to helping our customers during this time of need,” said WSSC Water General Manager & CEO Carla A. Reid. “Covid-19 has forced our customers to make difficult choices when it comes to paying their bills, and we want them to know that we will work with them to establish convenient and flexible payment plans.”

Customers with past due accounts are receiving letters and automated phone calls encouraging them 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 customerservice@wsscwater.com.

Here to Help: Water Affordability

Because of the pandemic’s economic impact, WSSC Water included $3.2 million in their 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. At the onset of this pandemic, WSSC Water took proactive steps to help customers and protect public health by suspending all water service shutoffs and waiving late fees. These customer assistance measures continue.

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 help 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.

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