Mayor Duggan announces Detroit water bill collection, shutoff plan

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's mayor says the city will provide financial help for water customers in an effort to reduce mass service shutoffs that were the subject of protests and widespread criticism, including from the United Nations.

Mayor Mike Duggan made the announcement Thursday at City Hall. His office and Detroit water officials spent days redesigning how collections will be handled.

Detroit had been cutting off water to commercial and residential customers 60 days behind or owing more than $150. Several groups appealed to the U.N. for support, and three U.N. experts responded the shutoffs could constitute a violation of the human right to water.

More than 15,000 customers had service cut between March and June, although many have had it restored. Shutoffs have been halted until Aug. 25.

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department released its 10-Point Plan which includes:

1. Waive Turn-On Fees and late Payment Penalties.

2. Cut red tape.

3. Extend hours DWSD Customer Care Centers.

4. Increase Staffing at the DWSD Call Center and Extended Hours.

5. Cobo Water Fair August 23.

6. Improve notification for customers in danger of shut off.

7. Implement an Affordable Payment Plan.

8. Provide financial assistance for low income Detroit customers.

9. Build Neighborhood Partnerships.

10. Provide a clear way to give.

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