S&WB suspends water shut-offs for certain customers with delinquent bills

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "As high as they're putting the people's bills. The people can't afford to pay that kind of money. I know I can't," said Broadmoor resident Mary Williams.

City officials say thousands of customers are battling water bills that fluctuate every month. Now, the Sewerage and Water Board says its taking notice.

The board will suspend water shut-off's for customers with disputed delinquent bills until March 1. According to our partners at NOLA dot com, the Times Picayune, it's due to criticism over miscalculated bills.

"In August, my bill was $226. The next month it was $180," explained Williams.

Broadmoor resident Mary Williams is fed up with the Sewerage and Water board. First it was her bill, then, a leak that led to a giant hole in the middle of her street.

"They have to get somebody out here quick, fast and in a hurry because the more cars the past, the worse it's going to get, she said.

While she's concerned with the blight turned safety hazard, Williams says it's only half the battle for residents on Robert Street, near South Claiborne.

"They need to get someone to read the meters and they need to read them right," said Williams. "All we doing is getting higher and higher bills."

Williams says some of her neighbors blame their high bills on leaks, but that's not the case for her.

"I don't have any idea why my bills are so high," she said.

Williams is not alone. Representatives with the mayor's office says close to 5,800 locals are currently battling delinquent bills. Now, the sewerage and water board says they're doing something about it, by suspending water shut-off's for customers with disputed, delinquent bills. According to our partners at NOLA.com, the Times Picayune, it's so the board can figure out why bills are jumping month to month.

"I absolutely think that's a good move," said business owner David Morel. "My bill has been all over the place."

Business owner David Morel has already had his water turned off once, but says the next day, he found he had a $5,000 credit.

"I thought, 'gee, finally they've gotten this thing straight, they figured it out,' and no. The next thing I know we have a $5,000 bill," explained Morel.

Now, he's struggling for answers as to why his 600 square foot business is costing him so much money every month.

"We have four toilets and two sinks," Morel said. "If I'm using that amount of water a month, fine. Then I have to pay it. But I don't think we use that amount and I think we're being charged too much for that amount."

Fox 8 reached out to the Sewerage and Water Board, but representatives denied our request for an on-camera interview.

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