The Philadelphia Water Department is launching a new program next month to provide discounted service to low-income families.
Philly.com says the city expects about 50,000 households to participate, about five times as many as the city's current program for low-income families. Anyone making less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level qualifies. That's about $36,900 for a family of four.
Those folks would be charged 2 to 4 percent of their household income and not billed on how much water they use.
The difference in the new program is that residents don't have to fall behind on their water payments to qualify. The low payments are meant to keep them from falling behind in the first place.
About 40 percent of the city's customers are delinquent, owing a total of $262 million.