Detroit water dept. criticized over increased residential shut-offs now taking aim at businesses

DETROIT (WXYZ) - After harsh criticism over ramped up shut-offs on residential customers, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) is announcing they have just sent out 10-day shut-off notices to a number of businesses.

Some of those receiving the shut-off notices Wednesday include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC).

"The Detroit Medical Center prides itself on paying all utility bills in a timely manner," said DMC Press Secretary Sarah Collica, "We are reviewing the notification we have received and as we review, if there are instances where we are delinquent and not in dispute, we will certainly comply. However, we need to review the list and go through our own accounting to ensure no mistakes were made."

Others DWSD officials say are on the list receiving shut off notices Wednesday include The Detroit Music Hall with a balance of $14,910; Tall-Eez Shoes with a balance of $11,735.21; and the Michigan Science Center with balance of $9,820.

DWSD officials reported that Detroit Public Schools once carried a balance of $12 million.

A spokesperson for DPS released the following in response to an inquiry by 7 Action News:

Our financial system is currently shut down for a major upgrade which is taking place this week, however, our records show that we have a balance due of approximately $2 million.

The agreement as it stands with the City/DWSD called for this to be paid off by June 30. We are currently developing a strategy that will retire our remaining debt with DWSD by September.

Action News discovered some prominent businesses that recently came under scrutiny for water bills that were reportedly delinquent, were actually not overdue. Poor bookkeeping at the DWSD is being blamed for the errors.
Residential customers seeking assistance on their water bills can contact any of the following:
Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (313)388-9799 or (734)284-6999.
THAW 877-646-2831
DWSD (313)267-8000
"If you don't come to us, we don't know your situation," said DWSD Deputy Director Darryl Latimer. "But if you come to us we are going to assist you."
Latimer says customers can dispute amounts they believe have been billed in error.
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