How to does a water bill reach more than $136,000?

How to does a water bill reach more than $136,000?
The water is back on at a Center Point complex after tenants went for nearly a week without due to a delinquent water bill of more than $136,000. (Source: Brittany Dionne)

CENTER POINT, Ala. (WBRC) - The water is back on for now at a Center Point complex after tenants went for nearly a week without, due to a delinquent water bill of more than $136,000.

The amount of the bill baffled many, who question how it’s possible for a water bill to get that far behind.

Birmingham Water Works spokesperson Rick Jackson explains.

“A lot of times with these commercial accounts the tenants, they don’t have an account with us. They are paying their water through their rent. And so, it’s not their fault if their landlord is not paying their bill,” said Jackson.

Jackson is unable to speak about specific accounts but does explain BWWB’s disconnect policy.

He said apartment complexes have longer grace periods than single residential accounts.

“If {single residential account} has a bill that generates, you don’t pay that first bill and another bill comes out, it’s a disconnect notice and you have a disconnect date,”

Jackson says residential accounts typically get 45-60 days before disconnection but the policy changes with apartments.

“We typically expand that time frame with them,” said Jackson.

Jackson said BWWB expands the time frame for disconnection because more people are affected.

He said BWWB does all they can to get the account current.

“We contact them. Send them a certified letter. If we don’t hear back then we put the pressure on the tenant saying, ‘Hey, your landlord has not paid your bill’,” explained Jackson.

Jackson added, that after several failed attempts BWWB is then forced to take other actions.

“Then, we have to reach out to the Health Department and let them know we are about to shut off an apartment complex,” said Jackson.

Jackson said Birmingham Water Works offers payment plans and arrangements to anyone unable to pay their bill.

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