This week, the Senate Economic Growth Committee advanced legislation meant to increase participation in the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). While the League originally opposed S-3333, we have worked with the bill’s sponsor to make amendments that resolve our concerns.
S-3333 as amended requires any municipal water and wastewater utility or authority to enter into a vendor contract with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to participate in the LIHWAP. Amendment language clarifies that the vendor contract will not prohibit a municipal utility from taking collection action against a qualifying customer after September 30, 2023. Collection action includes assessing interest, discontinuing service, or placing, selling, or enforcing a lien on real property.
The bill also places certain reporting requirements on both utilities and the DCA to provide information on water and wastewater customers in arrears with an additional provision requiring DCA to provide information on these customers to utilities for the LIHWAP to be successfully administered.
We anticipate this bill to move quickly through the remaining legislative process, and for the Assembly companion to do the same. We would like to thank Senator Cruz-Perez for her work on this important issue, and for her openness and willingness to work with the League to address the concerns of our members.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x137.