WASHINGTON - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a Maryland water utility says they have experienced a sizeable increase in the number of accounts that have gone unpaid.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says there has been an 82 percent increase in the amount of money owed compared to the same time last year.
WSSC says nearly 95,000 accounts owed $58.4 million in past dues as of October 16, 2020, compared to the $32.1 million owed by approximately 72,000 accounts on October 16, 2019.
Despite the overdue accounts, WSSC has suspended service shutoffs and waived late fees.
"Everyone at WSSC Water remains committed to helping our customers during this time of need," said WSSC Water General Manager & CEO Carla A. Reid in a statement. "COVID-19 has forced our customers to make difficult choices when it comes to paying their bills, and we want them to know that we will work with them to establish convenient and flexible payment plans."
Customers can also use these tips to try and save money on their bill:
-Turn off the faucet to lather and scrub when washing hands
-Take shorter showers
-Use the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand
-Find and repair any leaks (Toilet leaks are the most common cause of high-water bills.)
WSSC says they have lost $31.4 million in revenue in fiscal year 2020 and estimate $31.7 in losses for fiscal year 2021. They have identified more than $130 million in one-time targeted budget cuts into next year to offset the losses. Officials say mission-critical functions will remain fully funded.
WSSC officials urge anyone having problems paying their bill to contact them to set up a payment plan by calling 301-206-4001 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.