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DC Water Board Votes to Offer New Hardship Fund to Customers

December 20, 2018

More than 20,000 DC Water customers will have access to assistance with their water bills beginning in January, under a far-reaching assistance program approved by the authority today.
 
In a unanimous vote, DC Water’s Board of Directors voted in favor of moving ahead with a joint customer assistance program funded at $6 million a year to complement a District government assistance program that provides another $7 million, for a total of $13 million.
 
“This is good for customers and it’s the right thing to do,” said David L. Gadis, President and Chief Executive Officer of DC Water. “It’s essential that we continue to make investments in our system so the entire city can enjoy reliable and safe drinking water and wastewater treatment, but this new year-long program should provide significant benefits to many more of our neediest customers.”
 
Earlier this year, DC Water joined Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council to create the $13 million hardship fund to assist customers who have been impacted by water bills. The program consisted of two parts: 1. Direct water bill relief from DC Water to low income residential customers and 2. a program run by the DC Department of Energy and the Environment to assist non-profit organizations, including churches.
 
The program starts taking applications January 1, 2019 and funding will run until September 30, 2019.
 
The two elements of the programs are:
 
1.         Customer Assistance Program II (CAP2) – DC Water’s program for low-income residential customers who do not qualify for the existing Customer Assistance Program (CAP) is for people whose household income is up to but not more than 80% Area Median Income (AMI); these are families of 4 with total household income between $59,457 and $93,750 a year. These customers would also get a 50 percent discount on their Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) fee and get other discounts worth roughly $43.48 a month.
 
1A. Customer Assistance Program III (CAP3) – This DC funded program is almost identical, but it is for customers whose household income is greater than $93,750 and up to $117,200 (again for a family of 4) who do not qualify for CAP or CAP2. These customers get a 75 percent discount on CRIAC and their full monthly water bill discount is roughly $17.25.
 
2.         CRIAC (Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge) Nonprofit Relief Program – This portion of the hardship program will be administrated by DOEE and sets aside funding for CRIAC credits to nonprofit organizations who can show their annual CRIAC charge is greater than 1% of the organization’s annual revenue, after expenses. Organizations must submit their most recent IRS Form 990 or attest to the level of financial impact on their organization. The discount is valued at up to 90 percent off the customers’ CRIAC charge.
 
In January and February of 2019, DC Water and DOEE will host sessions in all 8 Wards to help share information about the program with customers and interested parties. A full list of locations will be posted on the DC Water website and the DOEE website early in January. In December 2018, DOEE held public meetings to assist non-profits with the procedures for applying.