In 2016, Council unanimously adopted legislation to create a new water affordability program for Philadelphia, and now we are proud to announce the implementation of TAP! I would like to thank our stakeholders, the Water Department, and Mayor Kenney’s administration for working with us to make this happen.
Access to water is a human right, and no one should lose their home because they cannot afford water. Our old way of handling water debt was not working — families lost their homes to foreclosure and the City was saddled with too much bad debt. Our new program is a transformative improvement that cities around the country are already looking to replicate.
In recent weeks, we’ve discussed the new program with local and national news outlets, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Governing Magazine, The Nation, and Circle of Blue. I also discussed TAP with Rebecca Vallas on the Off-Kilter radio show & podcast (available on iTunes).
Briefly, here’s how the new program will work:
After enrolling in TAP (Tiered Assistance Program), low-income water customers will receive fixed monthly water bills that are based on their income. For our poorest residents, bills will be as low as $12/month.
Conservation specialists will intervene in instances of high usage to counsel residents on addressing issues in their homes causing water waste.
The program will bring indebted accounts into compliance, by providing debt forgiveness for customers who make on-time payments for 24 consecutive months.
By encouraging conservation and compliance, TAP will bring new revenue in while ensuring that all Philadelphia families can meet this most basic need.
Applications are now being accepted, and the new flat-rate billing will be sent out starting October 1.
Find more information at phila.gov/water-bill-help — online applications are available.