California’s Moratorium on Water Shut-Offs Extended and Expanded
SB 155 Took Effect Immediately
Until recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive orders indicated that the moratorium on termination of water service to residential customers and small businesses in critical infrastructure sectors for nonpayment would expire on Sept. 30, 2021. California’s Budget Act, which created the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program, previously contemplated the moratorium ending on that same date, with certain exceptions relating to the Arrearage Payment Program.
However, the governor recently signed SB 155 into law, extending and expanding the moratorium effective immediately. Among other things, this new law extends the moratorium on termination of water service for nonpayment until at least Dec. 31, 2021 and possibly longer depending on whether and when a customer has been offered a payment plan related to the Arrearage Payment Program. Notably, the moratorium in SB 155 applies to:
- every community water system, regardless of participation in the Arrearage Payment Program;
- all delinquent payments, regardless of when the delinquency occurred; and
- all classes of customers (not just residential customers and small businesses in critical infrastructure sectors, as under the governor’s executive order).
The overarching takeaway: water service cannot be terminated for nonpayment until at least December 31, 2021. Even then, community water systems should ensure they have met all legal requirements and complied with proper procedures before shutting off water service due to nonpayment.
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