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Portsmouth water and sewer bill assistance.

The city of Portsmouth provides income qualified households with assistance for both their water and sewer bills. The city is trying to provide some type of support to help offset the ever increasing prices of these utility expenses, and the two main components of the program will be either a discount or a form of financial assistance such as a credit on an account.

The city is intending the assistance to go to two main groups of people, and they include senior citizens in Portsmouth as well as low income families that are facing a one time crisis. The financial aid is not intended to be some form of long term benefit that lasts indefinitely, but rather it is intended to be short term and targeted. More details on the water bill programs, as well as how Portsmouth residents can get help with sewage costs, are below.

Discounts are provided to families that have a total household income up to 200% of federal government guidelines. A formal application process is in place, and this will consider the households total income levels and also their savings. Since it is based on household targeted, the number of people in the home or apartment will also be taking into consideration.

In other words, a household will be able to receive a discount if their income is higher and only if they have a larger number of people that are legal residents on their home. So a sliding fee type scale is being used by the water company in Portsmouth. As just one example, a household of 5 people may be able to receive the credit on their account if there income is as high as $60,000 per year or so, but these thresholds can change each year.

For those that qualify, families may be able to receive up to a 25% discount on their water bills as well as monthly sewer costs. This will also be a time limited savings, but it can help provide individuals an opportunity to either increase their income or install some type of conservation measures to it, so as low flow toilets or other updates.

The discount can be substantial. Based on guidelines that the city of Portsmouth has, some families (if they have 5 members of the home) can save as much as $570 per year. Or an apartment or home with one person may receive a discount of maybe around $25 per month on their water costs. So the exact amount will vary based on many factors, but there are definitely discounts to be had.




Many senior citizens in Portsmouth that live on a fixed income, such as a pension or social security, may be able to benefit from this discount. It can be just one option available to prevent a shut off of an account.

Another option is temporary financial assistance. This will be provided in the form of a cash grant to income qualified families in Portsmouth. This is a short term solution, funds are limited, and any aid is paid on a first come and served basis only.

For people in a crisis, that was not caused by them (such as death of family member, illness, or unexpected job loss) then emergency aid may be paid out. This support will come in the form of a very short term discount, or in some places a few hundred dollars may be paid out. Any money will go directly to the bill that is due, and the applicant will not be directly given cash.

Applications will be needed to be completed with the city of Portsmouth. Proof of income and other support is needed, and the city will verify this with tax and other records. For more details, call 757- 393-8524.




By Jon McNamara

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