New Orleans – Understanding the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both our customers and the financial standing of our utility, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans announced today a reinstatement of a revised, customer-focused Customer Care Pay and water shut off policy.
“We are always committed to making compassion-driven decisions on behalf of all of our customers and encourage anyone concerned about affording their water bill to reach out to us, we are here to work with you” said Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, SWBNO. “That is why we have created this thoughtful and carefully-crafted plan to begin getting back to our normal business practices. This is an example of us exercising sound business sense as we gradually come out of this pandemic.”
Starting on July 21, 2021, SWBNO will begin mailing letters to customers with past-due balances who are at risk for having their water shut off. It is important to note that only customers who receive a letter are at risk for a water shutoff. Customers who receive the letter can avoid service disconnection and disconnection fees by paying the amount due or calling to enter into an interest-free payment arrangement.
Failure to enter into a payment plan by the dates outlined in the letter will result in delinquent fees. However, if a customer calls to enter into a payment arrangement within 10 days of a service disconnection, we will waive the $75 disconnection fee. This fee will only be waived one time per customer. This policy will remain in place until further notice.
Several major factors are being considered when determining who will receive a shutoff letter. Customers who fall into the following categories are exempt from a water shutoff:
- Customers who call to enter into a payment plan
- Customers whose previous billing cycle was over 33 days
- Customers whose most recent bill was estimated
- Customers whose bill has not yet been adjusted after estimations
- Customers with a bill dispute in process
- Customers who have remained current with a previously agreed upon payment plans
- Customers in low-income households who are planned to qualify for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) federal assistance are exempt
Customer Care Pay Plan Details
- No down payment required
- Up to 24 months to spread out repayment of a past due balance
- After 2 consecutive months of missed installments, customer would be notified they are being removed from the plan and at risk for a water shutoff if payment is not received
- If a customer remained current in a previous payment plan they will be grandfathered in, otherwise all new payment plans will follow the new payment plan option detailed above
We encourage any customer who receives a shut-off notice to immediately call our Customer Service Center at 52-water to explore these and any other options to avoid service disconnection.
Also, if you are unsure about the status of your account, or if you have a past due balance that you believe to be under dispute or are awaiting a hearing, please call 52-WATER or make an appointment at swbno.org to visit one of our Customer Service Centers to confirm the status of your account.