The moratorium on water shutoffs for nonpayment during the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in June 2020, has been extended and expanded. The current moratorium, which amends Public Service Law §§ 89-b and 89-l, prohibits water works corporations and public water providers (municipalities and public authorities) from disconnecting certain customers for nonpayment during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The moratorium does not relieve a customer of their obligation to pay for service. Water providers must notify customers of their rights and offer deferred payment agreements with no money down, late fees or penalties to customers who would otherwise be subject to be shutoff.
The moratorium is now in effect until the COVID-19 state of emergency ends or December 31, 2021, whichever date is earlier. Thereafter, qualifying customers who experienced a change in financial circumstances due to COVID-19 may be eligible for an additional 180 days of protection from shutoff for nonpayment.
In addition to residential customers, the moratorium now also covers qualifying small business customers as well as customers whose accounts serve a residential premise (e.g., landlords). The moratorium also temporarily prohibits municipalities from placing, selling or enforcing a lien on a customer’s real property for unpaid water rents. Public water providers must notify their customers of these protections periodically as specified by law.