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New Rights for Water Customers


Financial help for water customers and new rules protecting customer rights are helping to prevent water shut-offs in New Jersey. Here’s more:

LIHWAP: A New Water Assistance Program

The Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program, known as LIHWAP, will pay some or all of your water and sewer arrears if you are eligible and your utility has signed up for the program. According to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which administers the program, you are eligible for LIHWAP assistance if

  • You are a New Jersey resident,
  • You are a tenant or homeowner who is behind on a water or sewer bill in your name that you are responsible for paying,
  • Your household income is at or below 60% of the State Median income, and
  • Your household includes at least one U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or qualified alien.

A one-time benefit of up to $2,500 toward water bills and $2,500 toward sewer bills is currently available. The income limits for the LIHWAP program for households of all sizes are provided in the below chart. If you receive benefits including SNAP, TANF, PAAD, or LIHEAP energy assistance, you will not need to submit proof of income to apply for LIHWAP assistance.

Maximum Monthly Gross Income
Eligibility Guidelines
October 2022 to September 2023

  Household Size

USF Program  






































For each additional person

add $1,574

add $200

If you are behind in your bill payments or have lost your water service, you can apply for LIHWAP assistance through the DCAid application portal, or by calling 211 or 800-510-3102. If you live in Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Salem, or Gloucester County, you can call 609-968-3362 (English) or 856-206-8946 (Spanish). More information is available on DCA’s LIHWAP frequently asked questions webpage. If you have arrears that are not covered by the LIHWAP program, you should be offered an affordable payment plan that provides for equal monthly payments toward arrears.

Many of New Jersey’s water utilities are participating in the LIHWAP program, including

  • Aqua New Jersey
  • New Jersey American Water
  • Veolia (SUEZ) Water
  • Atlantic City MUA
  • Jersey City MUA
  • Passaic Valley Water Commission
  • City of Camden
  • City of Newark
  • Middlesex Water
  • Trenton Water Works

and others. Unfortunately, not all of New Jersey’s water utilities have taken the steps necessary to participate in LIHWAP. If you think you may be eligible, you should apply. If you learn that your water utility is not participating, you are encouraged to contact your mayor or utility to urge them to participate.

Additional water assistance may be available through NJ SHARES Water page to customers of Aqua New Jersey (866-738-7779), New Jersey American Water (877-652-9426), and Veolia (SUEZ) Water (888-942-8080), and to residents of Monmouth County through its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (866-657-4273).

New Rules Protecting Water Customers

The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) recently extended a number of its electric and gas service rules to protect water customers.

Most importantly, the Winter Moratorium on shutoffs (also known as the Winter Termination Program) now applies to water service. Between November 15 and March 15 each year, water service to customers in either of the following categories cannot be shut off for nonpayment, and if service is already disconnected, it must be reconnected:

  • Recipients of benefits under the Universal Service Fund (USF), LIHEAP, Energy Lifeline, TANF, SSI, PAAD, or General Assistance (GA) programs, and
  • Customers unable to pay their utility bills because of circumstances beyond their control, including unemployment, illness, medically related expenses, recent death of an immediate family member, or any other circumstances that might cause financial hardship.

You should tell your utility if you may be eligible for WTP protection, since water utilities may not know which of their customers qualify.

Some other new rules only apply to water companies the BPU regulates (Aqua New Jersey, New Jersey American Water Co., Veolia [SUEZ] Water NJ, Fayson Lakes Water Co., Gordon’s Corner Water Co., Lake Lenape Water Co., Middlesex Water Co., Midtown Water Co., Montague Water Co., Mount Olive Villages Water Co., Pinelands Water Co., Shore Water Co., and Simmons Water Co), and to municipal water utilities when they provide service outside their municipal boundaries. These new rules include:

Extreme weather protections—water shut-offs are prohibited on days that are very hot (forecast temperature 90° or higher) or very cold (forecast temperature below 32° all day).

In-person contact—a utility representative must attempt to give you in-person notice, and provide an opportunity for you to give them information about special circumstances or to make payment arrangements, before water service can be shut off.

Higher shutoff threshold—a customer must be at least $200 behind, or at least 3 months past due, on their water bill before service can be shut off.

Life-sustaining equipment—water utilities must ask customers at least four times a year whether there they have any life-sustaining equipment that would be impacted by a water shut-off.

Help With Heating Bills

The Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) work together to provide assistance with heating and cooling bills, and there is a single application system for both programs. Many more customers are eligible for these programs than in the past due to increased income limits following COVID-19 that will be in place until September 30, 2023. See the chart above for more information.

USF provides a monthly credit on your bill and arrearage forgiveness. LIHEAP provides an annual heating assistance grant during the heating season and, in some cases, other one-time grants. Another program, called Lifeline, helps seniors and people with disabilities with energy bills.

Learn more about these programs at Help With Your Utility Bills: New Jersey’s Enhanced COVID-19 Energy Assistance Programs.​