The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is encouraging eligible customers to sign up for its new bill discount program, which launched this month.
The authority said 135 people had signed up as of Friday afternoon.
In order to qualify for the program, residents must earn less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
For an individual, that’s about $18,000 per year; for a family of four it’s closer to $37,000 per year.
“We’ve known for quite some time that we have a good number of customers who struggle to pay their bills,” said interim executive director Bob Weimar. “In fact, we’ve developed ad-hoc ways to try to help them in the past, but we felt that there needed to be a more robust and well-established program.”
Weimar said those who qualify can get a 50 percent discount on fixed water and sewer conveyance charges for a one year period. That comes to a savings of roughly $15/month per customer.
He said the cost of the program is built into recent rate increases. PWSA Director of Administration Julie Quigley said the program will be administered by Dollar Energy Fund.
“Dollar Energy has an extensive knowledge of these types of programs for other utilities, so we were able to partner with them to allow our customers a way to be made eligible and it doesn’t impact the ability of our existing customer service representatives to continue the services that we’ve been providing for years.”
PWSA is also offering a winter moratorium on shutoffs.
Weimar said other customer assistance programs are likely, but didn’t provide additional details.
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