Second Letter to MUDs
RE: Financial Relief for Fort Bend County Residents
To all Municipal Utility Districts and Water Boards in Fort Bend County:
On March 26, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) responded to Governor Abbott’s Declaration of Disaster with a plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Texas water and sewer utility customers who are experiencing genuine economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.
The PUC has ordered PUC-regulated water and sewer utilities across the state to immediately suspend disconnections for non-payment. On April 17, the Commission extended the timeframe to May 15, 2020, for which Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) cannot disconnect a customer for nonpayment.
While this order only applies to IOUs residing outside the corporate limits of a municipality, I strongly encourage all of the Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) and Water Boards operating within Fort Bend County to follow suit and refrain from disconnecting customers during this disaster.
We further encourage all of the MUDs to extend this relief through June 1, 2020 to allow residents who are struggling to pay their utility bills with adequate time to access the unemployment benefits and other social services they may need to sustain their families right now.
Without the ability to practice good hygiene, the spread of the virus will accelerate and further harm our community. I urge you to empathize with our struggling residents and provide the same relief that IOUs are offering by suspending disconnections of service through June 1, 2020. I further urge you to consider waiving late payment fees during this period and to work with customers to offer payment plans for fees owed.
Fort Bend County Judge