Philadelphia Water Department to Resume Shutoffs After Extended Winter Hiatus

After an extended moratorium, the utility company will begin residential water shutoffs on Wednesday

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Philadelphia residents who owe more than $1,000 to the Philadelphia Water Department could be facing utility shutoffs on Wednesday as the company has ended an extended moratorium on the practice.

Typically, the department halts shutoffs for winter from December through April 1.

But, this year the company extended the moratorium in order to make sure those who may have needed assistance could get the help they need.

“The Philadelphia Water Department believes that no one should lose water because they cannot afford to pay a bill. Our shutoff policy is tailored to reach customers who have the means to pay water bills, but have not," said PWD spokesperson Brian Rademaekers in a statement. "It’s extremely important that people who can pay water bills do so, because water bills fund the day-to-day operations that ensure clean, safe water in Philadelphia. Revenue from water bills makes it possible for us to invest in infrastructure and deliver very high-quality water for less than a penny per gallon."

The shutdowns are targeted at those more than $1,000 in arrears or more and have not applied for assistance or been identified as an account that is protected under new PWD policies designed to shield vulnerable residents, Rademaekers noted.

"[W]e have strong policies and programs for vulnerable residents, including new protections this year for households with seniors, children, and others. We also have a range of assistance and payment agreement options, so anyone who is unable to pay a water bill just needs to contact the Water Department so we can help," he said, in a statement.

Anyone facing a shutoff should be aware by now. Shutoff notices, Rademaekers said, were mailed out with a warning that May 24 could have been the first day accounts could be shutoff.

However, the PWD held off until Wednesday, May 31.

He said that an estimated 5,000 shutoff notices were sent this year, he claimed.

Rademaekers noted that fewer notices have been sent out than in years past.

He credited this to programs aimed at protecting vulnerable households -- those with children, seniors or individuals with disabilities are shielded from shutoffs.

For those that have received a shutoff notice, Rademaekers said they should reach out to avoid losing service. He noted that the PWD can help with payment programs -- including the tiered assistance program and the senior discount.

Shutoffs resumed last July after being suspended for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To apply or learn more about the programs available for PWD customers, visit or call (215) 685-6300.

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