DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS: RECONSIDER BAN ON DISCONTINUING WATER SERVICE

8-C
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS:
RECONSIDER BAN ON DISCONTINUING WATER SERVICE
Problem Identification:
Since banning the practice of discontinuing water service to delinquent customers, the City’s delinquency rate has increased by approximately 20 percent.

Recommended Action:
Consider lifting the restriction on discontinuing water service to delinquent customers.

Classification:
Revenue Enhancement

Functional/Operational Area:
Bureau of Water and Wastewater

Estimated Annual Impact:
$2,000,000

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
Possible public opposition to discontinuing this critical service to citizens with an inability to pay potentially leading to other social problems (homelessness, abandoned homes, etc.).

Projected Implementation:
180 days

Next Steps:
Consult with the City’s Law Department to identify possible legislative or regulatory impediments to discontinuing water service. Develop and disclose publicly detailed guidelines to be applied in the future should the City decide to discontinue water service to delinquent customers.

Analysis:
The City has approximately $8 million in outstanding payments owed to it by delinquent water customers. Since 1992, the City has not discontinued water service to any of the nearly 1.8 million users of its system due to a failure to pay for service. Over the past eight-year period, the number of delinquent customers has increased to approximately 10,000’a 20 percent increase.

The threat of discontinued water service could prove a powerful inducement to the timely payment of water bills. If the City were able to reduce the amount of delinquent water bills by just 25 percent, this would amount to approximately $2,000,000 in revenue generation.