Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday announced a $20 million Water Assistance Relief Program that’s geared toward supporting Marylanders with water bill debt related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to provide ways—especially during the winter months—to help residents who may have difficulty with their water or heating bills,” Hogan said in a news release.
Water systems must agree to allocate funding as bill credits to customer accounts within a certain number of days after getting the money, the release says, and waive late fees and interest penalties.
The credits will cover outstanding water debt accrued between January 2020 to September 2022. Water systems are encouraged to apply for the program to ensure savings for customers in the coming months, Hogan said.
The application period opens Monday and lasts until the end of January. Federal COVID-19 money from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds will be used for this program, according to the release.
In addition, programs are available year-round through the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Office of Home Energy Programs to help with utility bills and prevent any loss of service, including the Maryland Energy Assistance Program, the Electric Universal Service Program and the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.