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Monday, August 11, 2014

Detroit Water & Sewerage 10 Point Plan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Water & Sewerage Director Sue F. McCormick, along with a team of community partners today announced a 10-point plan that would allow DWSD to collect on overdue water bills while making it easier for customers to make payments, enter into payment arrangements and access financial assistance.

1. Waive turn on fees and late payment penalties
During the moratorium, which ends August 25th, the DWSD will waive turn-on fees for customers whose water has been shut of, as well as payment penalties.
2. Cut red tape
To simplify getting into a payment plan, customer only need to present a valid state ID. Once payment is made, service will be restored within 48 hours.
3. Extend hours at DWSD Customer Care Center
The DWSD has expanded hours at all of its CUstomer Care Centers, from 8a-6p Monday-Friday and 8a-3p on weekends to make sure customer service agents area available at all times. The DWSD has also added staff to reduce wait times.
4. Increase staffing at call centers and extend hours
DWSD has also expanded hours at its Call Center to 8a-7p daily and 8a-3p on weekends. Starting August 18th, the Call center will have 50 percent more staff and new phone technology to better serve customers.
5. Cobo Water Fair August 23rd
A Water Affordability Fair will be held at Cobo Center on Saturday, August 23rd. to give customers one last opportunity to connect with all of the DWSD and community resources available to them before the moratorium ends August 25th.
6. Improve notification for customers in danger of shut off
The DWSD is expanding its efforts to communicate with customers who are late on their payments or may be facing shut-off. Bills will more clearly explain their status and assistance information will be included with the bill. Workers also will hand-deliver notices to all homes in shut-off status one week before their scheduled shut-off to give them time to enter into a payment plan.
7. Implement an affordable payment plan
Any resident with a delinquent account can enter into a 24-month “10/30/50” payment plan by coming to their local DWSD Customer Care Center, showing a valid state ID and paying down only 10 percent of their past-due balance. (The previous down payment requirement was 30 percent of the past-due balance.) If a customer misses a payment, they can reapply for the program by putting down 30 percent of their past-due balance. A second missed payment will require a 50 percent down payment of their past-due amount. Any customer who misses a third payment will no longer be eligible for the payment plan.
8. Provide financial assistance for low income Detroit customers
Starting August 11th DWSD Customer Care Centers will begin processing applications for the Detroit Water Fund. By paying down only 10 percent of their past-due balance, eligible city residents will receive up to 25 percent assistance with their bill from the new Detroit Water Fund. DWSD has partnered with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which will prequalify residents. To be eligible for Detroit Water Fund assistance, customers must be Detroit residents who:
• Have an outstanding balance between $300 and $1000; AND
• Maintain Average Water Usage for their household size; AND
• Are either enrolled in DTE’s Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP); OR,
• Have income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level (for example, a family of 4 must have an annual income below $35,775).
9. Build neighborhood partnerships
DWSD customers are not alone. We’ve established a support network to assist individuals who may not qualify for some of the DWSD assistance programs. Our partners include United Way 211, THAW, WAVE and Wayne Metro.
10. Provide a clear way to give
Many people have offered to help Detroiters who are struggling to pay their water bills. There are several ways to donate to the Detroit Water Fund: online, by text message, by check or by phone. Details are available at www.DetroitWaterFund.org.

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