Utility Resources for District Residents During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Help is available for District residents facing higher utility bills due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE). Homeowners and renters have access to a wealth of special and ongoing resources, thanks to the leadership of Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Council of the District of Columbia, the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the Public Service Commission (DCPSC), the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), the Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC), DC Water, Pepco, and Washington Gas.
Take advantage of ongoing resources now — before you are challenged with mounting bills. If you are experiencing financial hardship, existing and special programs implemented in direct response to the PHE can help. Following are some highlights:
COVID-19 Consumer Protections
- No utility disconnections: An emergency District law provides that electric and natural gas services cannot be disconnected due to non-payment during the COVID-19 PHE or for 15 calendar days afterward. Please note that consumers are still billed for services consumed. Regardless of the law, customers cannot be disconnected from service if they enroll in a repayment plan based on what they can afford to pay.
- No telecommunications disconnections: Another emergency law bars telecommunications service providers from disconnecting, suspending, or degrading service for non-payment, or noncompliance with a deferred payment agreement, during a PHE or 15 calendar days afterward.
- Help with water bills: Through the CRIAC Emergency Residential Relief Program, eligible households struggling with unpaid DC Water bills may receive up to $2,000 in one-time emergency assistance during the PHE and 105 days afterward.
COVID-19 Public Education Resources
- Here2HelpDC: This campaign by DCPSC, OPC, DOEE, and DCSEU informs District residents and businesses about energy and money-saving initiatives that can help minimize negative financial impacts of the pandemic.
- ReduceEnergyUseDC: This initiative by DOEE, Pepco, DCSEU, AARP and others helps educate customers on ways they can reduce their energy usage and save money.
- Washington Gas: Provides updates and reminders about its PHE-related resources.
- Pepco: Provides details on how it is helping customers and communities during the PHE.
- DC Water: Describes the proactive steps it is taking to serve customers during the PHE.
Ongoing Utility Assistance Programs
- Consumer bill of rights: Provides safeguards for utility consumers.
- Utility complaint mediation: The DCPSC’s Office of Consumer Services and OPC’s Consumer Services Division can help consumers with utility company problems.
- Utility Discount Program (UDP): The DCPSC requires Verizon Washington, DC; Pepco; and Washington Gas to offer a UDP to low-income District residents.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Eligible households may receive between $250 and $1,800 as a one-time regular energy assistance benefit through this DOEE program, and up to $600 for a qualifying crisis benefit.
- DC Water Customer Assistance Programs: DC Water has several programs to help customers who are struggling to pay bills.
Ongoing Energy Savings Programs
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP): This federally funded program provides low-income residents technical and financial assistance to help reduce energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.
Lead Pipe Replacement Assistance Program (LPRAP): Provides District funds to help eligible property owners with the replacement of partial lead pipes.
RiverSmart Homes Program: Offers incentives to District homeowners interested in reducing stormwater pollution from their properties.
Solar for All: This DOEE program brings the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low- to moderate-income District families.
DCSEU’s home energy conservation kits: Help consumers save on their electric, natural gas, and water bill monthly. Kits are free for LIHEAP recipients, and available for purchase for $10 by any DC resident.
Learn More About Other Resources
These are just some highlights of the many resources available to District residents. To learn about all programs, go to: