S&WB letters inform some customers they weren’t billed for sewer services

Billing issues continue for S&WB customers

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some Sewerage and Water Board customers are receiving letters alerting them that their accounts had not been billed for sewer services for a period of time.

But customers will not be penalized financially as a result.

The S&WB said it is due to steps that were taken after a new billing system was installed in 2016.

"When we went to the Cogsdale billing system, in order to do that, our employees here had to manually transfer their sewer accounts for each customer's account to make sure that they were being billed for water and sewer,” said Richard Rainey, S&WB spokesman.

He said a review of accounts found some sewer charges had not been added.

"In some cases that may have been overlooked, so we're correcting ourselves every time we come across this,” stated Rainey.

He added that the S&WB periodically reviews all accounts.

"As we constantly review our database of customers and continually look for anything where we can make improvements, sometimes we catch accounts where the sewer charges had not been properly formatted to come along with water bills,” said Rainey.

While sewer charges will be added to accounts that did not get the manual transfer of sewer fees, the amount will not be retroactive, according to the S&WB.

"In cases like that, we make the fix, we then send them a letter explaining what happened and we don’t back-charge for un-billed sewer going back, we start the billing process for sewer charges going forward,” Rainey said.

Meanwhile, customers continue to complain about irregular bills.

"I didn’t get a bill for a year,” said Charlie Lincoln.

He held a letter which said he owed over $1,400 and said he was subsequently informed that he owed much more.

"The bill before was like $60 or $70 a month and finally I get a bill for $1,400 and now two months later it's up to $2,100,” said Lincoln, as he stood outside S&WB headquarters.

Lincoln said the agency acknowledged that he had not been billed regularly for water and sewer services.

"They wrote me a letter saying that it's their fault that they didn't send out any bills, but that doesn't matter, this is what the bill is now and so this was a disconnection notice,” he said.

Barbara Pierson showed up to inquire about a $1,500 bill.

"That’s what I’m here today to find out what can be done, and you know, why? Where did they get this from anyway?” said Pierson.

There is a process for customers to dispute bills and request a payment plan.

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