Post-pandemic financial leniency ends Sept. 1 with the budget trailer bill, SB 155.
The water shutoff moratorium executed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 1, 2021, was extended till “at least” Dec. 31, 2021, so customers could set up payment with the Arrearage Payment Program for unpaid water bills. SB155 applied to every California water system, whether residential or commercial. All delinquent payments were put on hold, no matter how high.
Now that the moratorium officially lifted, Winters’ residents are again fully responsible for their water bills. But further assistance is available for locals, according to, Winters Administrative Services Director Cathy Matthews.
“City staff and the customer will work cooperatively to keep water service on and collect payments necessary to maintain and deliver water service to the Winters community,” Matthews said.
She added that a deferred payment date, understood by the resident and City, will be noted in the customer file.
“If payment is not received by that date, the disconnection notification process restarts,” Matthews said.
The city is reaching out to customers in all ways to give them a heads up, with a revolving resident reminder on the city website encouraging residents to pay attention to the deadline in order to set up a timely re-payment plan with Winters.
“When a resident contacts billing before the disconnection date and requests to make payment after the disconnection date, we work to accommodate that request and stop the disconnection process,” Matthew said.
Residents with a delinquent account will receive a water shutoff notice, including the overdue balance amount. In addition, a resolved payment deadline is mandated to avoid service interruption. Any resident unable to pay the past due account balance in full can arrange a deferred payment plan with the City of Winters Utility Billing Department.
“This must be done before the shutoff date listed in the notice to prevent water shutoff,” she said.
The state-wide water moratorium lift follows the California resident eviction moratorium at the end of June, a year after Gov. Newsom announced a 5.2 billion rent relief program in July 2021. When the governor forgave past due and prospective rent payments then, he added $2 billion for past utility and water bills. According to Matthews, federal, state, and local financial assistance in times of disaster is essential.
“Water is critical to our lives,” she said. “When people are financially impacted by a pandemic like COVID-19, measures such as the water shutoff moratorium ensures that this vital resource remains available to residents.”
Water and sewer service bills are due on the 15th of each month and are subject to discontinuation of service if not paid within 90 days from the dated bill. Residents with utility billing concerns or questions are encouraged to call 530-794-6711.