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Federal aid dries up for people behind on water and sewer bills

Aug 28, 2023

With the help of a federal funding assistance program, what New Jersey customers owed on their water and sewer bills went down by 22% over the past year, but utility companies still ended up with more than $43 million in arrearages.

The federal Low-Income Water Assistance Program provided customers with funds to pay down some of what they owed, but the pool of money is no longer available, according to officials from the state Department of Community Affairs, which administered the effort.

“Funds have been fully expended,’’ said Tammori Petty, director of DCA’s communications office. The department closed applications last week.

Much of the money owed by customers was built up during the COVID-19 pandemic as the related economic downturn beginning in spring of 2020 led to massive layoffs and caused customers to fall way behind on paying utility bills covering lifeline services like energy, water and sewer.

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