If you are experiencing genuine inability to afford the local water or sewer service, you will need to work with your local utility and tribal or city officials to find an alternative solution. Many communities have affordability programs in place. Talk with those in charge of billing to to see if this is the case in your community. If this is not the case, you may find yourself in a position to propose that some sort of assistance or affordability program be implemented. Jump to the Crucial Conversations section on how to start critical conversations such as this with your utility in community representatives. You may also wish to direct them to the resources on Making Water Affordable in the Local Leadership section of this toolkit. Here are some examples of assistance or affordability programs offered in other communities that you may offer as ideas for solutions as you approach your utility.
- Allowing customers to set up payment plans to pay down debt in increments over time.
- Connecting customers to public or private social assistance programs that help low income households pay utility bills.
- Offer reduced rates to elders, disabled or lowest income community members. This could be financed by:
- Slightly increasing rates for all other customers
- Debt forgiveness