Cities that supply water to residents can act now to become eligible to receive payments from the program on behalf of customers affected by COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce began accepting applications on Oct. 1 for a new Water Assistance Program that can help customers facing water or wastewater disconnection or past due water or wastewater bills.
Minnesota received $14.67 million in federal funds authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act to assist Minnesota residents with past due or current water and wastewater usage charges, fees, and deposits in response to hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program is also able to make payments directly to water suppliers, including city water suppliers, on behalf of eligible residential customers and is intended to ensure continuity of service. Program funds are available until expended, and payments from the program can be made through Dec. 31, 2024.
How benefits are distributed
Cities need only submit a short one-page vendor registration form to be eligible for payment from the program. All billing and qualification requirements will be determined by the same network of Community Action Programs and other agencies that handle the existing Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program.
Federal requirements mandate that residential customers that are currently disconnected from water or wastewater services are prioritized first, followed by residents with a pending water or wastewater disconnection and those with past due water or wastewater bills.
Get more information about the program
Suppliers that need assistance connecting with their local EAP service provider or have questions regarding the vendor registration form can contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org.