12/08/11 — Water clients facing shut-off

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Water clients facing shut-off

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 8, 2011 1:46 PM

The second round of collective enforcement of Wayne Water District's one-month delinquency shut-off policy went off with little fuss Tuesday as the Southwestern Wayne district had about 130 customers have their service disconnected.

As part of stepped-up enforcement of the district's payment policies, all customers in that district whose accounts were not paid in full on Dec. 5 were locked out Dec. 6 with no running water.

The shut-off blitz came exactly one week after about 700 customers in the Belfast-Patetown Sanitary District lost their water through enforcement of the same policy. More than 400 customers crowded into the district's Center Street office to pay off their accounts after finding they had no water

This week, however, wasn't such an ordeal.

"Today it's a lot quieter," Operations Manager Joey Threewitts said Wednesday. "That district yesterday was one of our smallest -- less than 1,400 customers, so it was about 10 percent."

District Manager Steve Hamilton said last week that 10 to 15 percent of customers across all the system's five districts don't pay on time. That situation, when combined with customers who move away with bad debts and rising rate costs, has led to an increase in write-offs. The policy enforcement has been stepped up to ensure all customers who run deficits or don't pay on time are treated fairly.

Although the Southwestern Wayne is a small district, Threewitts said he anticipates there to be large amounts of shutoffs next week, when the Southeastern Wayne Sanitary District payment grace period ends. Patrons there have until Monday, Dec. 12, to pay their accounts in full or risk losing water Dec. 13.

"They're one of our two biggest districts," Threewitts said, adding that he would know how many customers were at risk Monday.

Customers in the Eastern Wayne and Northwestern Wayne districts must pay off their accounts by Dec. 27 or face disconnection on Dec. 28.