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Whitmer extends executive order offering water utility assistance during pandemic

governor gretchen whitmer.png
Posted at 2:31 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 14:31:14-04

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended an executive order Wednesday that provides protections for Michigan residents who have their water service shut off during the coronavirus pandemic through the end of the year.

Having access to clean water helps ensure residents are able to wash their hands to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

More than 2,400 families in the state have benefited since the governor’s initial executive order in March, Whitmer’s office said in a news release.

Whitmer signed a bill into law last week at reimburses water utility companies $25 million for forgiving past due bills for residential customers during the pandemic. The bill also provides a 25% rebate on water bills for eligible customers while funding lasts.

Whitmer also wants the Legislature to pass laws that would require local water utilities to provide information to the state about rates and the needs of residents, according to the governor’s office.

Other initiatives include reviewing policy recommendations on water affordability and encouraging lawmakers to provide financial assistance for low-income families’ water bills.

“As Michigan families grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 on public health and our economy, our administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that no one has to worry about having access to clean drinking water or losing power during this unprecedented crisis,” Whitmer said. “Extending these protections is the right thing to do, and I remain committed to working with the legislature and our partners in the federal government to develop long-term policy solutions to make water affordable for every family in Michigan.”