DEADLINE FOR TAKING ACTION IN DELINQUENT UTILITY SERVICE ACCOUNTS APPROACHING
Last month, the Mayor and Council voted to rescind the moratorium on disconnection of water service for non-payment of utility service bills, effective March 15, 2021. The moratorium was approved in Spring 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic and was viewed as a short-term measure to assist residents and businesses who suffered financial impacts due to business restrictions or closures. Tucson Water officials are expressing concern that relatively few customers that have fallen behind in paying Utility Services bills have responded to outreach efforts notifying of the change in policy.
Silvia Amparano, Deputy Director for Tucson Water, stated “we have mailed multiple notices to approximately 14,000 customers that are in arrears, reminding them that they need to contact Tucson Water to make payment arrangements and apply for financial assistance. To date, fewer than 3000 customers have responded.”
As of March 8, nearly 8,000 Tucson Water customers are 90 days or more behind on their payments. Prior to the pandemic, approximately 3,000 customers would be delinquent more than 90 days on average. Under standard Tucson Water policy, disconnection of water service takes place once a customer exceeds 90 days in delinquency.
Efforts to reach out to impacted customers have focused on making sure they contact Tucson Water to make some sort of payment arrangements. Affected customers who have responded to our outreach efforts typically receive some financial assistance, and are required to enroll in a payment plan, allowing for the amount due to be paid over 12 months.
Customers who contact Tucson Water and make payment arrangements prior to March 15 will not have water service disconnected, and they also will not have additional fees and penalties assessed once they establish a payment plan and maintain their account in good standing.
Tucson Water is urging customers with delinquent accounts to take the following actions: