Beginning in July, the city of Santa Barbara will resume assessing late fees for past due water, sewer, and trash bills.

To avoid paying late fees or service disconnection, the city advises residents to be sure all utility bills are up to date by September.

The options available to avoid paying late fees or dealing with a service disconnection are as follows:

• Set up a payment plan with the Utility Billing Office.
• If eligible, apply for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
• Feel free to contact the city’s customer-focused Utility Billing team for assistance.

The City Council approved the LIHWAP at its May 9 meeting. LIHWAP helps low-income customers pay past due and current water/sewer bills and avoid service disconnections.

It is unknown how many customers will qualify for LIHWAP to pay past due and current water/wastewater bills, but a rough estimate is around 500 customers. The program is available and customers are actively applying.

For utility billing of water, wastewater, and trash customers, the city paused late fees and disconnects during the COVID-19 pandemic. Past due balances and the number of past due customers grew to historically high amounts since March 2020.

The state executive order restricting water disconnections expired in January 2022. Public utilities have been reinstating water disconnections to reduce outstanding balances.

The city will resume utility bill late fees in July and water disconnections in September.

To apply for LIHWAP, dial 2-1-1 or call 800-400-1572, or download the Water Assistance Application.

To set up a payment plan, contact the Utility Billing Office,, or call 805-564-5345.