In response to financial hardships of the pandemic, the City of Oceanside developed the Oceanside Ratepayer Relief Program. The program will launch Monday, August 2, 2021, and will offer a one-time credit to eligible customers who are behind on their utility bill. At the start of the global pandemic, Oceanside suspended late fees and water shutoffs; the Ratepayer Relief Program is going one step further to support customers.
Funding for the program comes from a $2.3 million settlement received by the City as a result of litigation between the San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District that challenged rates charged for the delivery of water from 2011 to 2014. At the City Council’s direction, approximately $1.5 million will be used to offset any future rate increases for calendar year 2022 and 2023, reducing the financial impact to all ratepayers in Oceanside. The remaining $822,995 will be put towards assisting customers through the Oceanside Ratepayer Relief Program.
The Oceanside Ratepayer Relief Program is open to all single-family residential, multi-family, commercial, irrigation, agriculture and recycled water customers. One-time credits up to several hundred dollars are available to customers that have a past-due balance on their account. Eligible customers must provide documentation to demonstrate a loss of income since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020 or have previously been approved for one of several other public assistance programs.
The City of Oceanside partnered with Home Start Inc., a San Diego nonprofit organization that specializes in rental and utility assistance programs for residents, to administer the program. Home Start also specializes in resources to strengthen families and protect children, and can help families get back on their feet when they encounter difficult times. Home Start will accept applications for the program on behalf of the City, and work with applicants to collect the required supporting documentation necessary to be approved for the program. Home Start will also work with applicants to discuss other available assistance programs that the applicant may be eligible for.
The Oceanside Ratepayer Relief Program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, until program funds have been depleted. The moratorium on water shutoffs due to non-payment is scheduled to end September 30, 2021. The City urges customers who have fallen behind on their utility bill to apply for this customer assistance program and set up a payment plan to ensure utility service continues. To apply, customers can fill out an easy to use online application, or print out and complete a paper application. Paper applications, along with all supporting documentation, can be dropped off at the Water Utilities counter located at 300 N. Coast Hwy., City Hall South Building, first floor.
Starting on Monday, August 2, both the online and printable applications, as well as a list of program criteria can be found at www.OceansideRateRelief.com.