As water billing disputes increase, DeKalb County halts disconnections
As pressure mounts from residents who have received unusually high bills, or in some cases haven’t received any bills, DeKalb County has decided to temporarily stop disconnecting delinquent customers.
The moratorium, issued by DeKalb County CEO Lee May, will be in effect until the end of 2016. It applies to bills that have been contested through the Utility Customer Operations Center, a press release from the county says.
“I have always said that one incorrect water bill is too many, and we have a number of issues that could factor into many errors on bills,” May said in the press release. “We must ensure that the process is accurate, and we have to err on the side of caution until we are confident that it is.”
People who have issues with their bill should visit the Utility Customer Operations Center at 774 Jordan Lane in Decatur or call (404) 378-4475. People who report billing errors will have their account reviewed by “an independent third party,” the county says.
“Account holders with disputed balances would be required to pay their average amount due until the case is resolved, with the balance, if any, due at the time the investigation is complete,” the press release says. “There will be no water service disconnections for accounts with balances in dispute and have paid their average bill through the end of 2016.”
May said he has also ordered Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams to create a comprehensive action plan regarding the review process.
“DeKalb County has a water meter conversion program underway. Approximately 70,000 water meters have been replaced with new digital units that can be read electronically,” the county’s press release says. “Nearly half of the digital meters have transmitters that relay water usage in real time. The remaining 120,000 water meters are expected to be replaced by 2021.”