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Helix Water District Does About-Face with Shutoff Plan for Non-Paying Customers

Helix Water District customers who have had trouble paying their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic will be spared having their water turned off by the La Mesa-based water providers.

The five-member Helix Water District Board of Directors unanimously voted on Wednesday to delay the resumption of shutoffs for nonpayment until Jan. 1, to be consistent with Senate Bill 155, which was signed by Governor Newsom on Sept. 23. Among other things, the new law extends the moratorium on termination of water service for nonpayment until the end of the year.

San Diego’s Sewer and Water Rates Due to Climb

San Diego’s sewer rates haven’t gone up in ten years. Now, the city is playing catch up with a four-year string of rate hikes they say is needed to maintain the aging system, and fund the Pure Water project.

The city says the increase was long overdue. But so are the unpaid water bills of thousands of lower income San Diegans. California’s pandemic water shutoff moratorium is set to end September 30.

Oceanside Launches Ratepayer Relief Program On August 2

The City of Oceanside announced the Oceanside Ratepayer Relief Program in response to financial hardships of the pandemic. The program will launch Monday, August 2, 2021, and will offer a one-time credit to eligible customers who are behind on their utility bill.

At the start of the global pandemic, Oceanside suspended late fees and water shutoffs; the Ratepayer Relief Program is going one step further to support customers. Funding for the program comes from a $2.3 million settlement received by the City as a result of litigation between the San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District that challenged rates charged for the delivery of water from 2011 to 2014.

Padre Dam Resuming Late Fees and Water Shutoffs in an Effort to Protect Customers

July 13, 2021 — Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors voted (4-1) to resume billing late fees on utility bills for unpaid past due balances beginning August 1, 2021 after pausing fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the District will resume water service shutoffs for non-payment beginning on October 1, 2021. The District is returning to pre-pandemic policies set forth in its Rules and Regulations to ensure compliance with California State Laws.

CVWD Approves Steep Water Bill Hikes for Small Homeowners

The Coachella Valley Water District board voted Tuesday to approve up to five years worth of potential rate hikes, including steep increases for small homeowners beginning July 1.

“It’s never a joy to increase rates… but I look across the (Coachella) valley and into Riverside and I think we’re competitive,” Director Peter Nelson said.

While a few customers objected by phone and Zoom before the vote, and 166 written protests against the increases were received, a whopping 64,906 written protests would have been needed to stop the vote per state law.

Money for Water Debt May be Available but Can California Get it to Those in Need?

As pandemic restrictions begin to ease in California, a race is on to get money in place to help with massive and growing household water debt before the statewide moratorium on shutoffs for non-payment is lifted.

Some observers are looking at June 15, when Gov. Newsom said he’ll lift the state’s mask mandate, as a potential date for release from other COVID-19 mandates, including the water shutoff moratorium.

Pandemic Lockdown Exposes the Vulnerability Some Californians Face Keeping Up With Water Bills

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt. Concerns about water affordability, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. The crisis heightened the financial vulnerability many ratepayers face and spotlighted the larger issue of affordability. Some water agencies have devised workarounds to help customers, but so far more lasting solutions remain out of reach.

Helix Water Launches Customer Assistance, Mulch Rebate Programs

On April 5, Helix Water District launched the Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program —a one-time credit of up to $300 to help Helix Water District’s residential customers who live in a single-family home, are behind on their water bill and can demonstrate loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramona Water District Introduces New Phone App Residents Can Use to Pay Bills

The Ramona Municipal Water District has unveiled a new mobile phone app that allows customers to view and pay bills and to review details of their account, including their water consumption history.

 

(Editor’s note: The Ramona Municipal District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Helix Water District Logo Square officers for 2021

Helix Water District’s New Customer Assistance Program Starts Today

The Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program starts today, April 5, and offers a one-time credit of up to $300  to help Helix Water District’s residential customers  who live in a single-family home, are behind on their water bill and can demonstrate loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.