California Water Service Group (Group) and its subsidiaries donated more than $1.7 million to community organizations and customers in 2020, exceeding 2019 contributions by an estimated $500,000. The increase was due to elevated community need, as many of the utility's service areas were impacted economically by the pandemic.
Group's contributions went to organizations that provide veteran services, assistance for at-risk or underserved communities, educational services, disaster response, healthcare, and animal welfare services; groups that support economic growth and environmental sustainability; and local first responders.
The utility also provided college scholarships totaling $80,000 to 12 local students, an increase of $20,000 from previous scholarship cycles.
Additionally, to help alleviate some of the financial strain for customers who lost their jobs or were otherwise hard hit financially, the company forgave more than $400,000 worth of past-due water bill balances for those who fell behind as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. All Group subsidiaries continue to suspend water service shutoffs for customers who are unable to pay their water bill during this time.
The contributions and bill assistance are part of the Group's philanthropic giving program and do not affect customers' rates.
"Doing what is right and improving the lives of those in our service areas is a cornerstone of what California Water Service Group is all about," said President and CEO Martin A. Kropelnicki. "Unprecedented times such as this called for unprecedented giving. We are grateful to be able to give more than ever before and for the generosity of our stockholders for helping our fellow community members in need."