On Tuesday, July 13, the DC Council voted to lift the public health emergency but put in place a public emergency which expires on October 8. The public emergency is in place solely for the District to receive Federal funds from FEMA.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
DC Water, Washington Gas, Pepco and Verizon may begin shutting off services on October 12.
HOW DO I PREVENT MY SERVICES FROM BEING SHUTOFF?
- The utility companies shall not disconnect, suspend, or degrade service for an additional 90 days if a consumer:
1. owes less than $600
2. Has an application pending approval or under appeal for any form of financial assistance including the STAY DC, LIHEAP, UDP, CAP, Lifeline, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, SNAP, TANF or rental assistance, from the city’s rent relief program.
- The Mayor will certify that an individual qualifies for financial assistance. By September 13, 2021, the Mayor shall provide notice to each individual certified as qualified for utility disconnection relief.
- The utility company is required to restore service to a customer when the customer makes a payment of at least $10, provided that the customer enters a payment plan.
- On or before October 12, 2021, a company shall provide notice to customers with a bill past due.
- A company shall provide notice to a customer regarding their account at least 60 days in advance of disconnecting, suspending, or degrading service, inclusive of disconnection.
- Notices shall be mailed to the customer in hard copy and the phrase “PAST DUE” shall be clearly printed on the bill or envelope.
- Notices shall be issued in at least English and Spanish.
INFORMATION INCLUDED IN NOTICE
- The availability of payment assistance programs.
- Information on eligibility for payment assistance programs and the process to apply to each payment assistance program.
- The right of customers to remain eligible for relief from disconnection, suspension, or degradation of service, provided that they are eligible for relief.
- A customer’s right to contact OPC for assistance with negotiating a payment plan on the customer’s behalf.