Late fees are back at WSSC, but utility says assistance is available

The region’s largest water utility, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, is once again adding late fees to overdue bills, but the agency says help is available for customers who are still having financial difficulties.

“Don’t panic,” said Luis Maya, a spokesperson with the WSSC. “If people can’t pay, we understand.”

Maya said customers can get help in a number of ways, “starting with a payment plan,” he said. “We also have low-income assistance for people that may qualify,” as well as a water fund that can provide up to $500 for people to pay their bills.

While local governments reopen and more people head back to work after enduring 14 months of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, “people continue to struggle,” said Maya. “One in five of the accounts are past due right now.”

WSSC suspended late fees starting in March of last year, and Maya said the utility, which serves Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, didn’t collect a total of $7 million in late fees.

Maya was quick to add that money will not be collected retroactively. “That’s $7 million of late fees that we are not assessing and we are not going to get.”

If you do find you’re having trouble covering your utility bills, Maya urges you to contact the WSSC. “Don’t stress,” he said. “Give us a call.”

You can find information from the WSSC in English and Spanish and ask questions online or by calling 301-206-4001.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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