Code Section

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 104. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH [106500 - 119406]

  ( Division 104 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )
  

PART 12. DRINKING WATER [116270 - 117130]

  ( Part 12 added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 6. )
  

CHAPTER 4.7. Water and Wastewater System Payments Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 [116773 - 116773.8]
  ( Chapter 4.7 added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 115, Sec. 61. )

  
116773.4.  

(a) The California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program is hereby established in the state board to implement this chapter.

(b) (1) Within 90 days of receiving funds pursuant to an appropriation in the annual Budget Act for this purpose, the state board shall survey community water systems to determine statewide arrearages and water enterprise revenue shortfalls and adopt a resolution establishing guidelines for application requirements and reimbursement amounts for those arrearages and shortfalls. Within 14 days of adopting the resolution, the state board shall begin accepting applications from community water systems for funds to assist customers who have past-due bills from the COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period.

(2) There shall be an initial 60-day application timeframe in which a community water system may apply to the state board for reimbursement. The state board shall contact any community water systems that do not apply during the initial application period to assist the community water systems in applying.

(3) The state board shall use the survey results to determine the total amount of residential and commercial arrearages from community water systems that have submitted that information. The survey shall also quantify revenue shortfalls for community water systems unable to disaggregate customer arrearages.

(4) (A) If there are insufficient funds in the appropriation described in paragraph (1) to reimburse the total amount of reported arrearages and revenue shortfalls of community water systems, the state board shall disburse the funds on a proportional basis to each community water system applicant based on reported arrearages and the state board’s estimation of customer arrearages for community water systems unable to report arrearages that report water enterprise revenue shortfalls.

(B) If there are sufficient funds in the appropriation described in paragraph (1) to reimburse the total amount of reported arrearages and revenue shortfalls of community water systems, the state board shall establish a program for funding wastewater treatment provider arrearages and shortfalls in accordance with this chapter with the remaining funds. Notwithstanding the deadlines specified in subdivision (c), the wastewater service program shall commence following substantial completion of the water service program under this chapter, and in no instance later than February 1, 2022.

(5) A community water system applicant shall calculate or estimate, based on its billing frequency, the total amount of outstanding past-due bills that have accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period. The calculations shall include documentation to support the amount of outstanding customer arrearages that were incurred during that period, if available. Community water system applicants shall also report their water enterprise revenue shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period. A community water system’s authorized representative, or its designee, shall attest that the application is true and accurate.

(6) (A) The state board shall prioritize the timing of the disbursement of funding to small community water systems.

(B) The state board shall establish guidelines for community water systems to prioritize residential water customers and customers with the largest arrearages.

(7) If a community water system uses customer classes for purposes of its billing program, the following customer classes are eligible for funding under this chapter and may be included in the application:

(A) Residential customers.

(B) Commercial customers.

(c) The state board shall begin disbursing funds under this chapter to community water systems no later than November 1, 2021, and shall complete distribution of funds to community water systems no later than January 31, 2022.

(d) A community water system shall, within 60 days of receiving funds under this chapter, allocate payments as bill credits to customers to help address past-due bills incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period and notify customers of the amounts credited to their accounts.

(e) (1) A community water system shall provide customers with arrearages accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period a notice that they may enter into a payment plan and that they have 30 days from the date of the notice to enroll in the payment plan. A payment plan and its associated rules offered by a community water system of any size shall conform with Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 116900), notwithstanding limitations in that chapter relating to a community water system’s size. A community water system shall not discontinue water service to a customer that remains current on a payment plan.

(2) A community water system receiving funds under this chapter shall not discontinue water service due to nonpayment of past-due bills before either of the following dates, whichever date is later:

(A) September 30, 2021.

(B) For a customer that has been offered an opportunity to participate in a payment plan, the date the customer misses the enrollment deadline for, or defaults on, the payment plan.

(f) A community water system shall remit any moneys disbursed to the community water system under this chapter not credited to customers within six months of receipt back to the state board.

(g) Customer information collected under this chapter is subject to Section 6254.16 of the Government Code.

(h) A community water system receiving assistance under this chapter may expend up to 3 percent, or up to one million dollars ($1,000,000), whichever amount is less, of that assistance for costs incurred in applying for the assistance or complying with use and reporting conditions of the assistance.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 115, Sec. 61. (AB 148) Effective July 22, 2021. Inoperative July 1, 2025, pursuant to Section 116773.8. Repealed as of January 1, 2026, pursuant to Section 116773.8.)