Jefferson Parish residents get opportunity to resolve water bill issues

FOX 8 Defenders: Kenner residents can now contest high water bills

KENNER, La. (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish residents who received high water bills will now have a chance to contest them.

It's a FOX 8 Defenders follow up after thousands of Kenner residents were impacted by estimated readings.

“I was shocked when I saw it, cause I figured, you know, it’s just me in the house. There’s no way I could possibly be using 20,000 gallons a month over a two month period,” David White said.

White is one of thousands of Kenner residents who received a surprise in the mail regarding his water bill, which is why he met with Jefferson Parish Water Department employees Friday afternoon to discuss it.

“The water usage just appeared to be higher than normal, and what people don’t realize is he explained to me that if the bill shows a 57 day period, but it’s longer than a 57 day period. It actually goes back four months to when they last read the bill. It doesn’t include the estimate,” White said.

Now, residents in Jefferson Parish who feel they’ve received an inaccurate water bill can meet face to face with water department employees starting next week at the Esplanade Mall.

"Every person affected can have their concerns addressed directly by a live human being in person, and have set up a claims process whereby these can be addressed in the most efficient manner possible," Jefferson Parish Councilmember Dominick Impastato said.

Impastato said the problem some residents face was due to a personnel shortage over the summer months.

"They estimated water bills for those couple of months, and typically, at a much lower amount that had been done in prior months, so then in a following month, around August, they made the decision to try to catch up with an actual accurate meter reading," Impastato said.

“I can’t wait to get my bill, because I will take action just like everyone else is. The problem is that all the bills we’ve received have been estimated and read, and they come out the same. So if it comes out all of a sudden different, something’s wrong with the system,” Michael Pejsach said.

Jefferson Parish officials say they will suspend late fees and work on payment plans with residents.

Residents can discuss their bills at the Esplanade Mall starting October 11-12, and 18-19.

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