The City of Lancaster is urging water customers with overdue and unpaid balances on their water bills to apply for financial relief or reach out to customer service for payment options.
Information about the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which was introduced in January, can be found at www.dhs.pa.gov/WaterHelp. This is a statewide program and a grant; it does not need to be repaid.
Rent and utility assistance through the Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance Program (ERAP) is available for Lancaster County residents who experienced financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information about ERAP can be found at www.lchra.com/rent or by calling (717) 590-3101.
Water customers can also reach out to City of Lancaster customer service at (717) 735-3425 or email@example.com for support and to discuss payment options.
The City of Lancaster has not terminated water service for non-payment since November 2019. All customers received a mailing sharing information about ERAP in June 2021. Customers with more than $25 past due received direct letters sharing information about LIHWAP and ERAP assistance in April 2022. Delinquent customers have continued to receive monthly bills outlining their past due amounts and the assistance available to them. All customers have had the option to contact City Treasury to establish payment plans. To date, 180 customers have received assistance to pay their bills, totaling $143,575.26. Assistance funds remain available.
An extended notification process determined by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) that can lead to a shut-off will resume on May 23 with first notices. As determined by the PUC, all customers at risk of shut-off for non-payment will receive at a minimum 10-day, three-day and same-day notices. Landlord ratepayers will also receive a 37-day notice, and tenant ratepayers will receive a 30-day notice. These notifications will be given via mail or door hanger prior to shut-off, including information about how to avoid termination. If customers have an open request with LIHWAP or ERAP, or apply for assistance after receiving a notice, the shut-off process pauses until the request is resolved.
As of May 12, 2022, the delinquent amount for utility customers sits at nearly $2.7 mil, up from nearly $2.1 mil in May 2019.
*As of May 24, 2022, LIHWAP and ERAP have helped 309 properties of Lancaster’s water customers. LIHWAP has helped our water customers with $167,759 in assistance and ERAP has helped with $43,633.