The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is excited to introduce its PGH2O Cares team – a group of education and outreach professionals dedicated to working directly with our most vulnerable customers to bolster enrollment in our customer assistance programs and identify ways to reduce water usage.
Our customer assistance programs, established in 2018, are still relatively new. Many people are not aware that they are available and do not know that they may qualify. In 2019, we conducted a household affordability analysis and found that approximately 20,000 customers are potentially eligible for our Bill Discount Program, which is the most widely used program, providing a 100% discount on fixed water charges. Currently, 4,300 eligible customers are enrolled.
Outreach and education are the primary focus of the PGH2O Cares team. They are passionate about the one-on-one work they will be doing with customers and look forward to building relationships with those who need extra support. Whether over the phone and eventually in person, they will sit with customers to describe our programs in greater detail and explain the benefits of enrolling.
This personalized assistance is needed now more than ever. With so many customers impacted by COVID-19 and the economic distress it has created, there is a greater need and customers are more stressed when they call.
“If we can help our customers find solutions and give them some relief, then we are doing what’s needed to assist people during a difficult time,” PGH2O Cares Coordinator, Sarah Viszneki, shared.
The PGH2O Cares team will also review water usage to identify where customers can reduce their monthly bill. Our water usage portal is available at no cost to every customer and provides hour-by-hour readings on daily water use. This data is extremely important to identify any potential problems and times when water use appears high. The PGH2O Cares team will teach customers how to use the portal, make sure they register, and brainstorm solutions to save on their monthly water and wastewater bill.
PGH2O Cares is a proactive feature of our existing customer assistance programs. Members of our Low-Income Assistance Advisory Committee (LIAAC) expressed interest in developing an outreach driven program to increase enrollment. Through our collaboration with committee members, community stakeholders, and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), PGH2O Cares was established along with several other enhancements to our customer assistance programs that were included in our 2020 rate filing and went into effect on January 14, 2021.
We are proud to expand our customer assistance programs and offer personalized support through PGH2O Cares. No one should have to choose between paying for water and other essential expenses. The PGH2O Cares team will help you determine which of our assistance programs are best for you.
For more information about PGH2O Cares and our customer assistance programs, please visit pgh2o.com/cap.
“There are many more people who we can help. Everyone who qualifies should take advantage… The programs are available for a reason, and our customers deserve this assistance.” - PGH2O Cares Coordinator, Sarah Viszneki