Philadelphia Water Financial Assistance Programs
Philadelphia Water Department's mission is "to provide all Philadelphians with access to clean, safe water." To this end, in 2015, Philadelphia’s city council authorized creation of Philadelphia Water Department’s Tiered Assistance Program. Launched in 2017, this first-in-the-nation income-based rate structure was established in response to growing unaffordability for nearly 40% of PWD’s customers and shutoffs disproportionately impacting black and Latinx households. In a complete shift away from its prior approach, Philadelphia’s TAP provides customers that need help paying their bills before they fall behind and go into debt. The program works by setting a resident’s bill as percentage of their household income and size rather than water consumption. So households with a monthly income of 150% of the federal poverty level, e.g., about $3,075 (as of 2017) for a family of 4—or those with a special hardship are eligible to enroll. For example, a family of 4 with ~$12,300 annual income would have a monthly water bill of $20.50.
In addition to TAP, Philadelphia offers a number of assistance programs including payment agreements, zero interest loans for lead service line replacements, zero interest repair loan for homeowners in imminent danger of shutoff because PWD inspectors have issued a Notice of Defect after finding a leaking water line or sewer lateral, and free plumbing devices that can help prevent basement flooding that occurs during heavy rainstorms. Notably, PWD integrates localized infrastructure into their assistance programs by providing free water conservation devices and education to low-income customers (at or below 150 percent of poverty level), yielding average water usage savings of more than 25 percent for participants and offering stormwater tools at a reduced cost to help residents manage stormwater and beautify their homes.
Click the link below to learn more about PWD's financial assistance programs.
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