In an ongoing effort to help Californians deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. Newsom today issued an executive order prohibiting water companies from shutting off customers for non payment.
The order, which applies to residential and commercial customers, has no end date.
Additionally, water service that was shut off for nonpayment as of March 4 must be restored to any occupied residence, according to the order.
Already, more than 100 public and private water systems in the state had suspended shutoffs for nonpayment in recognition of the devastating economic effects of the shelter-in-place requirements to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Several consumer advocate groups had been encouraging this action by Newsom for several weeks.
“We must also see this executive order not as an end point, but a strong foundation to build upon,” stated an email from Susana De Anda, Executive Director of Community Water Center, a grassroots organization dedicated to improving water systems for low-income communities in the Central Valley and Central Coast.
Among other things, Community Water Center would like to see greater resources for everything from bottled water to conference call equipment for systems in disadvantaged communities and create a low-income water rate system similar to those for energy and phone services, according to De Anda’s email statement.