The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP) has been expanded to include overdue drinking water and wastewater bills. The program was established in July using $8 million from federal CARES Act funding. Initially, only utilities regulated by the Public Utility Commission were eligible for ratepayer assistance. Now, customers of all water and sewer utilities are eligible to receive grants for overdue bills caused by economic hardship due to income loss from COVID-19.
Starting November 13, residential and business customers of registered systems can apply for a grant to cover eligible arrearages (for these purposes, an arrearage is an unpaid bill that is more than 60 days overdue and incurred after March 1, 2020). Customers must apply by December 15. The funding will be paid directly to the utility to cover the eligible portion of a customer’s overdue bill.
All program funds have been spent. Customer applications will continue to be open until 5 pm on December 15. Applications that were not awarded funding will be saved in the event that more funding becomes available.
Additional funding has been allocated to the VCAAP program. Customer applications that were not initially awarded funding will now be eligible for an award. However, new customer applications will not be accepted.
Utilities must review eligible customer applications by 5 pm on Wednesday, December 23 to be approved for the second round of funding. You are encouraged to give priority to those applications that have not yet had an initial review.
The additional funding has been spent and the extension has ended. The Vermont Legislature is looking into ways to continue the program in 2021.
Registration: In order for your customers to be eligible for VCAAP grants, your system or utility must register with the Department of Public Service. Email email@example.com with your utility name and email address to begin the registration process.
Learn More: View the DPS information page for utilities here.
Watch a recording of the information session held November 10 here.
Watch a recording of the reviewer training session held November 12 here.
Guide for Reviewers
Frequently Asked Questions
Eligibility: Any water or wastewater/sewer system that bills customers is eligible. This includes municipal systems, fire districts, and homeowners/condo associations.
Shutoff Moratorium: All public water and wastewater systems are still under a shutoff moratorium established by the Vermont legislature. The moratorium will continue until the State of Emergency is ended. More info (Note that the Public Utility Commission had a shutoff moratorium for privately owned utilities. While the PUC moratorium was ended in October, water and wastewater systems are still under a shutoff moratorium.)
Application: The Application Portal is here.
Information: The DPS information page for customers is here.
Assistance: Customers who need help applying can contact their local community action agency. Find contact information here.
If you have questions specific to VCAAP, please contact the Department of Public Service’s Consumer Affairs and Public Information (CAPI) Division at 1-800-622-4496 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Water and wastewater systems can contact Vermont Rural Water at 802-660-4988 or email email@example.com