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California American Water Activates Its Customer Protection Program for Fire Victims
California American Water (CAW) customers in the Geyserville and Larkfield service areas (Sonoma County) and who were evacuated for several days as part of the response to the Kincade fire, may have one less thing to worry about. CAW has activated its Customer Protection Program which designed to take stress off customers recovering from the impacts of the fire, evacuations and disruptions to their lives.
Luckily, CAW was ultimately able to continue operating water systems in both Geyserville and Larkfield to support first responders during the evacuations. Post-fire both water systems have been providing normal water service to customers as they have returned to their homes and businesses.
The Kincade Fire in the Geyserville and Larkfield areas spanned a total of 13 days – from Oct. 23 until Nov. 6 –and raged through 77,758 acres. Sixty structures were damaged and 374 buildings, including some 75 homes, were destroyed. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported and only four injuries were reported. But more than 180,000 people evacuated. The evacuation area even included the Coffey Park neighborhood which was essentially wiped out in October 2017 North Bay fires. Even Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital was forced to evacuate.
“The communities we serve in Sonoma County were still recovering from the 2017 Tubbs Fire when the Kincade fire threatened their home, businesses, and schools all over again,” said California American Water President Rich Svindland. “These state approved measures will hopefully help customers out and give them less one thing to worry as they return back to their homes and communities.”
CAW’s disaster relief program, the Customer Protection Program, includes the following relief measures:
- Working cooperatively with customers to resolve unpaid bills by making payment arrangements for up to one year
- Minimizing disconnections for non-payment
- Waiving fees for late payment
- And, considering bill adjustments for extraordinary water use during the fire and subsequent evacuation.
Customers who are now returning home, post evacuation, and who need assistance with their water service and/or their bills are encouraged to contact California American Water at 888 237-1333. Alternatively, customers can visit CAW’s Sonoma County office at: 4787 Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed for lunch from 12 to 1 p.m.).