Portland Oregon families who need help with paying their water and/or sewer bills have resources available to them. Payment arrangements, discounts, credits, and vouchers are just some of the assistance programs available to qualified low income customers in Multnomah County and the city of Portland.
If you can’t pay your bill before the due date, you may be entitled to make a payment arrangement for your Portland Oregon water bills. You should call customer service as soon as possible. Do this before you receive a formal disconnection notice. Call to negotiate some type of plan for your utility costs, including storm water or sewer bills. If you are found to be qualified, there are two common outcomes. They include:
Customers that are currently being billed bimonthly or quarterly may request an extension of their payment that is otherwise due. Any type of payment arrangement agreed upon will require that the outstanding balance on your account be paid in full 14 days prior to the extract bill date. Those Portland water customers that are billed monthly may request they be entered into a program that extends the due date on your account for up to an extra 30 days.
Customers need to stay current and abide by terms of the deal that is agreed too. If a qualified low income household enters into an agreement with their provider, but then subsequently defaults on the payment arrangement, then the current outstanding balance will need to be paid. Additional extensions will not be provided to the customer.
From time to time an account may be back billed. Those individuals that receive a water or sewer bill that was adjusted or delayed for a period greater than six months due to a billing error on the part of the City of Portland Oregon may establish a payment plan by default. The city tends to be very cooperative in these situations, and will provide a customer up to 6 months to pay the back bill. However, during this extra time that may be provided customers, they need to continue to pay their regularly scheduled bills on time. The same terms apply here, in that the family or individual needs to stay current and can’t default on the plan.
Crisis Vouchers are offered as well. Qualified low income customers who have an emergency may receive up to $150 in financial assistance once every 12 months. This amount will be provided to them in the form of a grant that is applied to their account. To qualify for this water bill assistance program, the family also needs to enroll in the City's low income assistance program. Customers will need to make some form of good faith payment.
Utility Safety Net was created by the Bureau of Environmental Services as well as the Portland Water Bureau. It can provide emergency utility and water bill payments for ratepayers with personal emergencies, customers who lost their job, or those that have a medical concern. The utility safety net program was created to help Portland City's Water and Sewer customers who have experienced a significant temporary change in household income avoid the shut off of their service.
This is a program of last resort if you were not able to enter into any other payment plans as noted above. Assistance provided includes a waiver of any recent delinquency charges, deferred water shut-off, interest-free payment plans to help deal with the unpaid balance, and direct financial assistance.
Utility Safety Net was created with the objective of providing time to struggling customers, with the goal of helping people get back on track with their payments. Customers need to make their payments on time in order to stay in this program.
If a deferral is offered to the household, the customer and the water department need to work together to determine the number and amount of installment payments. They will also need to decide on the length of the deferral period based on the size amount of money due and the details of the crisis. An agreement must be signed, and this is a formal process that is put into place.
If found qualified, credits may be placed on the customers account as part of the program as well. In addition, the City of Portland Oregon may cancel the Safety Net agreement and revoke any financial assistance at any time if the agreement is not abided by. Call 503-865-2651 for more information.
Qualified customers of Portland water may qualify for an additional discount on their account. These discounts are established every year by the Portland City Council. This program is administered by the Community Service Center of Multnomah County Oregon. You will need to make an appointment to have your application reviewed for this reduction.
While the funding will vary every year, in the past some of the discounts provided by the service were $82 on the sewer/storm water management charges and $40.00 on the water portion of a bill, for a total savings of as much as $122 on a 90-day bill. Also please keep in mind that additional discounts, above and beyond these, for storm water management may be available through the Bureau of Environmental Services' Clean River Rewards Program.
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