CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 10 percent of West Virginia American Water's customers are eligible for a discount program launched Wednesday, according to the utility.
Certain low-income customers will be able to receive a 20 percent discount on their monthly bill, year-round, saving the average customer about $93 a year, West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said.
Some customers will pay less than one penny per gallon, company President Jeff McIntyre said in a news release.
The program is open to customers who receive Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI), assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or WV Works. Customers in the SNAP program are eligible if they are 60 or older.
The state Public Service Commission approved the water company's petition for the discount program on Nov. 14.
Jordan said the water company has been working with the state Department of Health and Human Resources to organize mailing applications to qualified customers.
DHHR manages the discounted rate program and will mail out applications this week, Jordan said. Eligible customers should return the completed form to West Virginia American Water.
It could take up to 60 days before a customer notices a discount, especially during the initial rush of applications, she said.
"We are encouraging customers, if they do think they're eligible but haven't received the application right away, to wait until mid-May before they reach out to their local DHHR office," Jordan said. "Calling West Virginia American Water will not give them an application."
Until recently, the discount program was available only to gas and electric customers, she said. Those utilities offer discounts for the five coldest months out of the year.