The public health emergency has ended, suspending the moratorium on evictions, utility payments and late fees. Utilities such as DC Water announced that late fees on past due balances resumed September 1.
There are many programs out there that can help you make your payments, and simply by applying help avoid having your service disconnected, suspended or reduced.
According to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG)
, one way to qualify for utility disconnection relief is for a customer to be able to prove they qualify for an assistance program such as STAY DC, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (“LIHEAP”), Utility Discount Program (“UDP”) or the DC Water Emergency Relief Program (“CAP”). This is true even if an application was made before Oct. 12 and is still pending.
Customers can also avoid late fees by signing up for, and staying current with, a payment plan.
See more on some of the programs that can help you pay utilities and rent below:
o STAY DC: A program that provides financial assistance to District residents who are unable to pay rent and/or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit stay.dc.govor call 833-4-STAYDC from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Apply now to get the help you need to recover and get through this. A calendar on the STAY DC website lists pop-up events around the city where you can receive in-person assistance with an application.
Through STAY DC, the District will:
• Pay unpaid rent going back to April 1, 2020;
• Pay forward rent, up to 3 months at a time;
• Pay for water, gas, and electricity expenses on your behalf, and
• Provide extended housing support for up to 18 months, per tenant.
o LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP): The federal government distributes funds to the District of Columbia which, in turn, provides grants to qualified applicants to help them pay their energy bills. For assistance on LIHEAP, RES or a payment plan, call 844-WASHGAS and select option 2. Please note that wait times may be extended due to the higher call volume.
o RESIDENTIAL ESSENTIAL SERVICE (RES): Eligible households may qualify for a discount on a portion of the natural gas they use each month during the heating season from Nov. 1 to Apr. 30. To be eligible for the RES discount, customers must:
• Use natural gas as the main source for home heating; and
• Be certified by the Department of Energy & Environment as eligible for LIHEAP.
o DC Water Cares Customer Assistance Program (CAP): Customers who are behind on their bills are urged to contact DC Water at 202-354-3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what customer assistance programs are available. There is a full suite of financial assistance plans—some for emergency relief and others that provide ongoing discounts. Information is also available at dcwater.com/cap, including how to apply for financial assistance or establish a payment plan.
During the pandemic, utilities companies and the District government launched new programs to help residents financially impacted by the crisis. Click on the links below to learn more about these programs: