NEW YORK – New York City will expand its water bill debt relief program by forgiving interest on debt and helping qualified New Yorkers save money and pay off debt, it said. Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala on Monday.
The program, which was announced in January and would only last 90 days, will now run until May 31. It has generated more than $80 million in delinquent accounts and helped New York customers pay off their debts, saving them $12 million in interest so far.
Of the nearly 200,000 customers with overdue water bills, approximately 86,000, or more than 40%, participated and saved money. To date, DEP has also awarded low-income homeowners a total of $4.2 million in bill credits through the program.
Money raised through this program is used to invest in building the resilience of the city’s water supply system, maintaining and improving critical infrastructure, and keeping water rates low. Customers who fail to pay their bills late or fall into payment plans will face enforcement action, including water service cuts.
“Water is one of our most precious resources, and New York City has the best municipal drinking water supply on the planet. Now we are asking New Yorkers to do their part to help us maintain this water supply by paying their outstanding water bills,” Mayor Adams said. “By extending our water bill amnesty program for an additional month, more New Yorkers will be able to pay their bills and save on interest payments, leaving more money in workers’ pockets. The funds we receive help us maintain our essential water infrastructure and reduce costs for everyone, so those who refuse to pay will be shut down. If all New Yorkers pay the cost of their water use, we can keep our water costs low and remain the city with the cleanest water in the world.
What are the program options, what is it?
The Temporary Water Bill Amnesty Program helps New Yorkers save up to $150 million in interest when they pay their overdue water bills. The program will waive up to 100% interest when customers pay some or all of their outstanding water bills. This program will help New Yorkers pay down debt and save money, while ensuring the city can continue to invest in and maintain the city’s essential water infrastructure.
For customers with a seriously overdue balance of more than $1,000 for over a year, the amnesty program offers three options:
- If 100% of the main invoice is paid, 100% interest will be waived.
- If 50% of the main invoice is paid, 75% of the interest will be waived.
- If 25% of the main invoice is paid, $50 interest will be waived.
Customers who owe less than $1,000 are still eligible to receive a 100% interest forgiveness if they pay the bill in full. All customers who participate in the Water Amnesty Program and have an outstanding balance will be required to enter into a payment agreement with DEP.
How can I get the interest on my debt waived and see if I meet the criteria?
To receive interest relief on your water account debt and confirm your eligibility, or for more information, you must visit the DEP’s Water Amnesty website here, where you enter your account number. account and they give you the payment options. You can also call (718) 595-7000 or visit a municipal office.
To help low-income customers who are already participating in the New York State Low-Income Homeowners Water Assistance Program, DEP is offering up to an additional $30 million to help those homeowners by forgiving up to to $5,000 of their remaining outstanding balances.
DEP provides more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water and treats 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater for more than 9 million New Yorkers every day. Water system expenditures, including maintenance, repairs and capital improvements, are funded directly from revenue collected from water bills. Customers pay about $0.01 per gallon in water and sewer charges, and the average New York City household uses about 70,000 gallons of water per year.
The water bill amnesty program has resulted in the first sustained reduction in DEP’s delinquent account balance since the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the many beneficiaries of the successful program is the community of Shorehaven located on the Clason Point peninsula in the Bronx. Residents of the development, comprised of condominiums and two-family homes, will save more than $400,000 and reduce their burden of unpaid water bills.
During the pandemic, DEP has seen a significant increase in overdue accounts receivable balances – there were $1.2 billion in overdue payments before the amnesty program began – threatening operations and capital needs. a company without which the city could not survive. Data shows that 85% of customers who set up a payment plan stick to it and successfully pay off their debt. Increased enforcement, including potential water service cuts, will be key to further reducing long-term defaults.
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