Today, state leaders urged those with recently reconnected residential water service to begin the process of working with local water departments to identify assistance programs and financial assistance to remain connected.
Nearly, 2,000 homes have been reconnected since late March when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the restoration of water service under Executive Order 2020-28 to ensure at-risk households have access to clean water for hand washing and other critical sanitation needs.
During the Covid-19 pandemic emergency, those who have lost jobs or are struggling to cover expenses, including water bills, are encouraged to reach out to their local water departments. Several counties across the state received Cares Act funding to support the pandemic response that could also be used to assist with water bills.
“No one should have to worry about having water during a pandemic,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. “Local water departments can help, and MDHHS is also prepared to help eligible residents access assistance to keep their water connected.”
State leaders encourage anyone facing financial distress because of COVID-19 to:
“It is critical that those recently reconnected to water, as well as those struggling to keep water connected, continue to have access to the water needed to protect themselves from Covid-19,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Helping Michigan families understand how to access the support they need is important as we get through this unprecedented time.”
The order for reconnection remains in effect and upfront payment is not required for reconnection. All occupied residents are required to be reconnected under the governor’s order, which remains in effect for the duration of the Michigan State of Emergency. Residents are not required to provide a copy of their deed or lease agreement to have water restored during the COVID-19 emergency. Although bills will continue to accrue during the emergency, residents can work with local water departments to arrange for payment moving out of the emergency.
Michigan residents without running water should take the following steps:
For residents struggling with heat and electric bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, utilities across the state have suspended non-payment disconnections for low-income and senior customers for the duration of the emergency. Information and tips on managing utility bills are available here through the Michigan Public Service Commission.