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How San Antonio prioritizes helping low-income residents with their water bills?

May 4, 2022

It might seem counterintuitive when programs that give people with low incomes a discount on their utility bills don’t have 100% enrollment. These programs are money-savers, after all. Who wouldn’t want that?

But in fact, it’s rare to have even a majority of eligible customers enrolled in these programs. That’s according to Manny Teodoro, an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Teodoro’s one of the few researchers in the U.S. who studies water-bill discount programs and water affordability.

“The most famous utility assistance program in the country is LIHEAP,” Teodoro said, referring to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. “It’s been around for over 40 years now and historically it’s had an average participation rate of 16%.”

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