The pause on Philadelphia’s residential water shutoffs for non-payment has expired, and shutoffs have resumed. You may have received a shutoff notice if you have unpaid bills totaling more than $1,000 and haven’t signed up for water bill assistance or enrolled in a payment plan. Notices started arriving in mailboxes in late April, but there’s still hope. Here are three ways to avoid losing your water service this shutoff season:

New protection for more residents

If a senior, a disabled person, or a child lives in your home, your water will not be shut off throughout the 2023 shutoff season. That’s because a new temporary protection measure is in place to ensure vulnerable residents who cannot pay their water bills still maintain service. If you meet the above criteria, don’t wait — call us right away at (215) 685-6300 or email for immediate enrollment in our new Raise Your Hand initiative.

Although you will be exempted from shutoff even if you don’t pay and will have more time to apply for help, the Raise Your Hand initiative doesn’t stop your account balance from growing. So, if you can pay your bill, please do so. Revenue generated from water bill payments helps fund important water projects vital to everyday life in Philadelphia.

Help is always available

There’s still time to contact us for help getting rid of your unpaid bills. The City offers a broad range of water bill assistance programs designed to ensure that residents who cannot keep up with their bills maintain service by providing them with a plan to pay off their debts. For example, you may qualify for our Tiered Assistance Program (TAP), which provides lower bills that stay the same each month and can qualify you for debt forgiveness.

TAP is available based on income or special hardship situations, and the same application can be used for our Senior Discount program. The best part? Enrolling in these programs exempts you from shutoff. So don’t wait to apply! Visit our website to learn more and submit an application today.

Tenants may also qualify for assistance

If you’re a tenant at risk of shutoff and the water bill isn’t in your name, you can still avoid losing service if a disabled person, child, or senior lives in your home. Just call us at (215) 685-6300 or email to take advantage of our Raise Your Hand initiative.

Even better, you can contact the Water Revenue Bureau and ask to be added as an authorized user to the water account. This way, you can apply for help with your bills through our water bill affordability programs — another great way to keep your water on.

You will need the property owner’s authorization, usually in the form of a lease, a letter, or a prior court determination of a rental agreement. The lease must specifically state that you are responsible for the water bill. A complete list of required documents for the tenant application is available on our Tenants webpage. Applying is easy. Visit our “Become a water customer” webpage and select “Tenants” for guidance on accessing and completing the application form.

Residential shutoffs resumed in 2022 after a two-year pause. We even paused penalties for unpaid bills during that period. With enforcement measures back in place, please don’t wait to contact us for help!