March 27, 2020
SaskWater is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and following the guidelines set out by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer and the Government of Saskatchewan. While the risk of COVID-19 remains low in Canada, SaskWater has developed plans to address corporate business processes in the event of an emergency or disaster, including infectious disease outbreaks, as part of its Business Continuity Plan.
We want to assure our customers across the province that this situation is not impacting our ability to provide water and wastewater services. SaskWater is committed to our role as an essential service provider.
SaskWater may be impacted in non-essential areas, but services that are essential to public health and safety will be maintained.
Interest Waiver Program
1. The Premier recently announced an interest waiver program. What does this mean for SaskWater customers?
SaskWater recognizes that COVID-19 is affecting communities, businesses and residences across the province in ways that may impact your ability to pay.
Crown utilities are offering customers a six month interest waiver program to help residents and businesses deal with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Over the coming six months, late payment charges and interest charges will be waived. At the end of the six-month period, the balance of regular monthly payments will be due. Collections and service disconnects are also discontinued for this six-month period.
Further, to help customers get back on their feet, following the six months, any balance outstanding can be paid back over the following 12 months through equal monthly installments with no additional interest charged.
In total, this provides customers with a period of 18 months to recover from the impact of the pandemic on their finances. The goal is to provide customers with some relief during a very difficult period that is impacting both personal and economic wellbeing.
We encourage customers to continue to make regular payments, as they are able, to avoid large bills entering the winter season. However, for those experiencing hardship, it is the sincere hope that this will help offset some concerns.
2. Who is eligible for the interest waiver program?
All customers who are having difficulty meeting their monthly payment obligations due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic are automatically eligible for the Crown utility interest waiver program.
3. Do I need to call in to register for the program?
No registration or application is required. The program will be automatically applied to impacted customers.
4. Does this mean I don’t have to pay for my utility use during the pandemic?
Customers are still responsible for their utility use incurred during the pandemic. If able, customers are encouraged to continue to make monthly payments to avoid a large amount owing down the road. During this six-month program, any interest fees or late payment charges that would have been accrued will be waived.
5. What happens if I can’t pay my bill after the waiver period is over?
SaskWater is willing to discuss payment plan options to return customer accounts to their current standing. Outstanding balances resulting from the next six months can be paid via a 12-month interest-free payment plan.
· A customer has a $100 monthly utility bill that could not be paid for six months.
· No interest or late fees will be charged on the late/absent payments.
· September 2020: $600 overdue - can be repaid over the next 12 months in equal monthly installments.
· Ongoing monthly payments would include $100/month current bill, plus $50/month to repay the arrears, for twelve months.
6. If the pandemic goes longer than expected, will the waiver program be extended?
Currently the program is in place for six months. This may be amended as the current pandemic situation continues to evolve.
COLLECTIONS AND DISCONNECTS
7. I have been sent a final notice for collections, is this also deferred under the new program?
All collections and disconnect actions have been suspended for the next six months. It is recommended; however, that customers discuss existing arrears and payment plan options with SaskWater.
8. So I won’t be disconnected?
That is correct, you will not be disconnected during the program. However, customers are still responsible for the utility bills incurred
If you have further questions or concerns please contact your Account Manager directly or contact Customer Service at 1.888.230.111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.