S&WB customers to have water shut off for unpaid bills

Don Ames
July 12, 2018 - 4:47 pm
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The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board says it will soon begin to shut off water for customers with outstanding balances in an effort to reduce a backlog of 7,000 disputed bills worth nearly $14 million.

The agency says trained analysts will review every disputed bill to decide if it is eligible for an adjustment. Any adjustment would be based on the customer’s history of water usage and a standard bill adjustment calculation.

The S&WB will notify customers by mail about any adjustment or requirement to pay an outstanding balance. A customer who disagrees with the decision about his or her bill will have 10 days from receiving the letter to schedule a hearing.

The expedited reviews that the S&WB has begun will happen only for customers who disputed their bills before June 22.

The S&WB says the outstanding balances have caused a cash-flow problem for the agency after it paid $82 million to make infrastructure improvements since last summer's floods. 

The S&WB says water shutoffs will resume Aug. 1. The practice ended last November as the agency worked to make improvements to its beleaguered billing system, which has been blamed for faulty bills that have improperly charged some customers thousands of dollars.

Customers who need help paying bills can set up a payment plan with the S&WB to avoid having their water turned off. The agency said customers who choose that option must pay 25 percent of their bill up front. The balance will be paid off in equal payments during a nine-month period.

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