NEW ORLEANS — If you’ve got a disputed bill with the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, the time to settle it is now.
The agency announced Thursday that it will resume its “regular” process of collecting money from customers in July, and shutoffs for past-due bills will start Aug. 1.
Extensive problems with the S&WB’s billing system prompted the troubled agency to stop cutting off people’s water due to nonpayment, largely because there were so many people disputing their massive water bills.
The S&WB plans to clear the backlog of disputed bills using a team of trained analysts who will review each disputed bill and decide whether it is eligible for an adjustment. The board will notify a customer of the panel’s decision through a formal letter.
The customer can agree with the panel’s finding and pay any outstanding balance or request a payment plan. If the customer disagrees with the analysts’ findings, he or she will have 10 days after receiving the formal letter to schedule an administrative hearing.
The “expedited review process” only applies to customers who disputed their bills before June 22, 2018. Customers who have disputed their bills after that date will have their cases handled through the board’s standard bill review process.
“We are resuming our regular collections process in July, but water shutoffs will not start again until August 1st. We urge customers to use this time to resolve any outstanding balances,” said S&WB spokewoman D’Seante Parks. “Water shutoffs are a last resort and the agency hopes to work with customers to create a plan for payment, should they need one.”
The special payment plan is available to assist eligible customers avoid having their water service shut off. Under this plan, customers must pay 25 percent of their entire outstanding balance up front. Their remaining balance will be factored equally into their next nine monthly bills. Customers must pay in full each month to avoid any future interruption in service.