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West Virginia PSC asks Congress to support Low-Income Household Water Assistance plan

By Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — People on fixed incomes or low wages often have trouble paying their monthly water bills, so the Public Service Commission of West Virginia urged the state’s lawmakers in Congress Wednesday to support a permanent and federally funded Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).

This program provides temporary assistance only to families in need to cover a portion of their water and wastewater bills. Since its creation, LIHWAP has assisted more than 17,229 low-income families in West Virginia.

“As regulators with oversight of the water industry in West Virginia, we believe it is imperative that Congress take action to provide continued funding for a permanent low-income water assistance program,” PSC Chairman Charlotte R. Lane told the state’s two U.S. senators and House of Representatives’ members.

Sponsored by Reps. Eric Sorensen, D-Ill.; Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore; Kim Schrier, D-Wash; and Jennifer Gonzalez-Capon, representing Puerto Rico, their bill (H.R. 8032) is a companion to Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif, earlier this year.

Both pieces of legislation would permanently authorize the program, which was established by Congress four years ago to promote public health by easing the burden on families struggling to afford their monthly water bills, Lane said.

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