OWASA Guidance on Resuming Standard Collection Practices

UPDATE: This post was updated on October 2, 2020, after Orange County announced it would be extending the county’s State of Emergency declaration until December 31, 2020.

Orange Water and Sewer Authority is planning to resume its standard bill collection practices in late January/early February 2021, after the expiration of Executive Order 142 on July 29, 2020, and one month after the expiration of Orange County’s State of Emergency. OWASA’s Executive Director will use Orange County’s State of Emergency as guidance for resuming standard billing practices. Should the county further extend the State of Emergency, OWASA will consider delaying the resumption of standard collection practices.

Under our standard procedures, if a customer does not pay two consecutive bills, they are eligible for service disconnection.

Prior to resuming standard collection practices, OWASA will work directly with customers with overdue bills. We will be offering extended interest- and fee-free payment plans to customers. We will also provide information to customers on how to apply for utility bill assistance from various programs, as well as the long-standing Care to Share program.

If you are able, please consider donating to OWASA’s bill-assistance program Care to Share. Care to Share funds are administered through a partnership between OWASA and the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service. All funds donated to Care to Share go directly to providing bill assistance.

North Carolina law does not allow water utilities like OWASA to offer discounted rates or debt forgiveness for those who cannot pay their water bills. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, to keep water affordable for all, OWASA had to cut off the water when the bills weren’t paid. We are grateful to the donors to Care to Share, the funds from which will help customers pay their utility bill and keep rates lower for all. We are also grateful to our partners in the community that have dedicated CARES funding to provide utility assistance.