electric meter 080621SPRINGFIELD – Residents who struggle to pay water and sewer bills will have additional financial assistance coming, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law today.

“Utility providers will now have the opportunity to opt in to a financial assistance program,” Belt said. “This will help lessen the financial burden that low-income customers face when they cannot afford their monthly utility bills.”

The legislation creates the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund, authorizing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to make payments directly to the utility providers on behalf of qualified customers. The fund is financed through the opt-in program. One-third of the available funds will go to the households with the lowest incomes. Older adults and people with disabilities will also be prioritized.

Utility providers can choose to opt in to the program, managed by DCEO, to ensure low-income residents’ water and sewer services are available and affordable.

“For the families who spend a large percent of their monthly income on utility services, assistance may be coming your way,” Belt said. “This will provide stability to those individuals who need it most.”

This law takes effect immediately.