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After Daniel Whitfield lost his job, his family began to run low on food and let the water bill go for a couple months. He owed more than $ 800 to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority when his water was cut off.

“I caught up half way,” Whitfield said. “They came and put the meter back in, and then when we decided we couldn’t catch up on this amount the Cape Fear guys kept coming out here taking the meter, putting it back in, back and forth, back and forth, so I said just turn that account into collections, and we’ll open up another account.”

Whitfield says his water was shut on and off at least ten times, and each time someone from the
CFPUA came out he was charged $ 50.

When he began receiving unemployment benefits, he tried to clear his debt. “I tried to pay the bill, and they wouldn’t take the money,” Whitfield explained. “The manager in the billing department said he will not take payment from me. I said, ‘this is the time I’ve been waiting on. I’ve got my unemployment, and I’m ready to pay you. We need water in this house’.”

Whitfield says CFPUA also said it would not take the money because he was being investigated for allegedly tampering with the water meter by turning the water back on himself. Whitfield says he had the water legally through a different account in his girlfriend’s name.

Regardless he faces a possible arrest for something he believes is just a giant misunderstanding. Right now his only worry is not having water.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest54

    Wow I just ran across this story as I am in search of a way to contact my local water company in Idaho in an emergency situation. I am extremely irrate, I have called a ton of times to make a payment over the phone and it is literally for a $28.00 bill, after leaving several messages and finally demanding that they call me back I have yet to recieve a callback so I can pay. They shut my water off yesterday and I am shooting through the roof with anger, for 28!! I called more than the usual yesterday of course as I wanted my water back on immediately. I call every month and make a payment, the idiots need to get an automated system obviously, I was paying online but they had issues with finding the payment as the system never updated, I would wait hours and sometimes days until they were able to locate it online to have my bill show paid in full. So the lazy A ladies tell me to call it in so we can ensure. Pffff, needless to say I just got out of the emergency room with my daughter….she is in need of water at this moment so I ran over to Walgreens and picked up a liter. Heres the issue-she has vomiting diarahea and wants to sit in a warm bath, I want to get her taken care of then have some water to clean up the mess but can’t because these bs water companies are stingy lazy craps! Money money money but they cant get off there butts to collect it until they shut it off and charge you a 1000 fees then they want now now now, but what happened when we needed water now now now and to make a payment now now now! Im sorry Daniel, I feel your pain and sometimes making sure our kids have neccessities and to keep them alive deters decisions that hafta be made even though you may not want it. If they don’t get my water on soon now that I gave in to there online system once again, I will not set another minute smelling puke and unable to use my water that I paid for, that wrench will come out my pocket and Ill take it to the box with the courts! This momma has had it, poor class like myself, STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN, quit letting the big ones scare you! America start focusing on what needs to be done for our country so people do not act out to survive and stop paying the foreigns bills until we get us right! What a Joke! I do not see a recent post on Daniel, Does anyone have an update?

  • Guest25

    the sad part about it is, he does have a daughter…but i dont believe he would go out there and turn the meter back on.

  • GuestLee

    I’m glad to hear you were pro-active in pawning your personal items and seeking assistance from multiple organizations. I give you credit for putting yourself out there and trying.

    If you are a full time, on-line student, you’re racking up high bills and/or student loans. I did that myself until recently. Being a full time student is a great deterrent to getting a full time job. You might want to consider postponing school until you can get yourself out of this financial situtation, find a job (full or 2 part time), pay off your bills, and then go back to school when finances are better. You may also want to consider consolidating any credit cards you have. I have a friend who recently did that, and she cut $200 per month off of her monthly expenses. That would go a long way toward your water bill (two months = $400).

    As far as finding a job, you don’t have to tell employers that you are epileptic and, if they ask about medical issues during your interview, you can sue their pants off. I know because my brother is also epileptic. So, being epileptic shouldn’t keep you from getting ANY job. The biggest thing that will keep you from a job now is putting your name out there in the media that you tried to steal water from the water company. Hiring organizations frown on that kind of thing.

    With the money you received from the various pawns, unemployment, food stamps, and help from various organizations, I’m surprised that you still chose to steal. You stated that you won’t “take from the homeless”, but you’ll steal from an organization. Stealing is stealing, no matter who you steal from. You obviously haven’t learned anything from this experience yet, or you wouldn’t still be trying to justify tampering with the water meter. Until you can actually learn from this experience, I’m afraid history is doomed to repeat itself.

  • Daniel Whitfield

    I have pawned my firearms, two computers, thousands of dollars worth of automotive tools, got DSS to $300.00 of the light bill, (dss only helps out one time per fiscal year, in the amt. of no more than $300.00, Thank you), applied for payday loans, disability, food stamps, patient assistance programs….more than other people know about!
    CFPUA refused to offer payment plans, which is why I tried to pay full amount on benefit back pay from unemployment, they still refused!!
    Local churches get there funding from members, whom are not all entirely rich, besides, there are others w/o a shelter…im not taking from the homeless! I’m a full time online student also, epileptic, discriminated by multiple employers and company’s, so im not here to battle, but if you dont know what you are talking about, you know what to do…thank you.

  • GuestLee

    There are several organizations he could have contacted for help in paying his water bill. CFPUA also has a payment plan available.

    (1) First Call For Help 910-397-0497 or 910-397-2945
    (2) Salvation Army
    (3) Dept. of Social Services
    (4) Local churches
    (5) American Red Cross

    These are just a few organizations that I could think of right off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many others that he could find on the internet (I know he has a computer because he responded earlier online). If all else fails, he could pawn some items or go to Labor Ready for part time work (you get paid the same day).

    There’s no need to steal. That only makes things worse. There are plenty of organizations out there to help him out.

  • virgogirl

    The guy lost his job. He had no income. What’s he supposed to do? Deal drugs to pay the water bill? Why don’t they have some sort of hardship fund to help people out in bad times. If he couldn’t pay the water bill, how the heck is he supposed to pay the $50 fee’s over and over. This just snow balled the situation. Give the guy a break. I hope he doesn’t have kids in the house. How quickly our lives change at the loss of a job. Very sad for all the people in the same situation. Good luck getting back on your feet!

  • Guesthatecfpua

    They are the worst crooks around. They are a money hungry group of folks who have no compassion, nor are their customer service skills worth any merit. They send bills when they want to with no rhyme or reason. They are horrible. Hang in there, man, I’m sure you’ll find alot of folks around here who will rally with you. Their really making a bad name for themselves… Crooks


    It’s a DAMN shame that the CFPUA does this to people. The CFPUA is filled with JERKS that could care less about other people. I would like to see all of these people lose their jobs and feel the pain that the public has to deal with day by day.

  • Guesticles

    When your account is turned over to a collection agency, the collection agency “buys” the debt from the company. So, he doesn’t owe CFPUA any money, he owes it to the collection agency. CFPUA can’t take a payment if there isn’t any money owed. Opening another account at the same house under a different name could constitute fraud, but a better credit check would have seen the truth.

  • GuestLee

    Exactly! It’s nice to see some facts here, instead of immature rantings.

  • me

    That’s just ridicules they would’nt work with him. With $50.00 visits to turn the water back on they should’nt have a deficient. I’m sure he’s not the only 1. It’s just sad they want work with people.

  • Concerned_Citizen

    It is crazy to charge 50 dollars to reconnect public water! People need water, and someone that has been disconnected, you know is low on funds. Poor people are always hit the hardest by these stupid fees!

  • Guest5489489494

    I have the same problem with them. They are quick to turn it off and chage $50 for the reconnection. They could really care less about your situation. Hang in there man.

  • Donald


    Take a look at the water bill. Do you see what appears to be your name but typed in all CAPITAL letters?
    They have created a “legal” name from our real name. A legal name is an Account title or business title/name.
    They charge the business title/name, not you directly. This makes you liable to pay the business charges to a company that doesn’t exist.

    By charging an individual as if they were a business but is not, well….

    Also, if an employee “appears” to be a business on paper, this would explain the ‘income’ tax charge.
    An Employee does not have income. Income is value received.
    An employee must work to *create* value.
    The employee’s paycheck *does not* pre exist their labor.

  • HUMANITY. Thats the word for those at cfpua. I didn’t capitalize because those stingy idiots over at the water company don’t deserve the respect of capitalization. How greedy they are by not providing another Human Being water. There is a special place in HELL for them. Would they deny a thirsty animal water? I’m guessing they would and would probably give a swift kick also. Well cfpua I’m telling you this, Karma is no joke, and you will eventually pay for your stingy misdeeds.
    I had the forethought to put in a well, so you won’t be killing me. As long as I can afford electricity I will have water. I am looking into suing you for having your meter on my property. You don’t pay me a base rate to use my land, however if I discontinue service with you ,I have to pay your base rate. This is not right you are robbing me and everyone else.

  • GuestLee

    ILLEGAL. That’s the word for the guy tampering with his water meter.

    I don’t agree with CFPUA’s rates, and I don’t think it’s right when people have to pay as much for water as they do a car payment. I also don’t think it’s right when CFPUA has 3 increases (15%) in one year.

    But it’s also not right to try to cheat the system and steal the water. It only makes things worse, for himself and other customers who CFPUA will make take up the slack.

  • Guest421

    If they took the meter, how did he turn it on? Did anybody see him do it? Guess the utility was making too much money cutting the water off and on and this is why they didn’t want him to pay up. I understand a utility has a right to collect their payment, but when the health of a family is at stake, there should be some remedy for limited use for showers and toilet use. Where is the health department in all this? Just another example of how people are ripped of by those who can with little recourse. Glad I have a well.

  • Daniel Whitfield

    The CFPUA is required to contact the health department 25 days after disconnection of water…if the residence is proved to be occupied, the house is condemned to be unhealthy living environments.
    What do I do?-
    Wait for the detective to full fill the investigation to deed me free of all charges.
    How long will this take?
    Well, we are now a week and a half w/o water, and the detective has not even called me back!
    Then what?
    To sum it up…CFPUA drove my family out of our home, to get a ‘Rich’ person or family in the residence that will pay them hundreds of dollars a month… i have no choice for the time being but to comply with the state laws, and move out temporarily until case is settled. When my little girl wants to know why we cant go home to play in her room, or watch cartoons on HER tv, im calling the CEO of CFPUA, the billing manager, and the lead tech of engineering- (whom filed this crazy charge), and im going to make them tell my daughter why we cant go home!

  • GuestLee

    Something doesn’t feel right about this guy’s story. I think there’s more to it than he’s telling.

  • calvin lewis

    whats not right is you, you are whats wrong with the world today.lets all lean in the direction of corp america they are never wrong or injust, right?

  • Daniel Whitfield

    There is so much more going on with this, no one could understand… because i dont even know why this is happening!
    If ya figure it out, let me know…i would love my water back!

  • Guestzento

    I agree, only one side of this story is being told, there has to be more to it than this.

  • Mike p

    I feel for this man and his family. Who would have ever thought this counties water bills would resemble a car payment. Cfpua its water just water.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    It really *IS* that simple.

    CFPUA is poorly run, has a ridiculous rate structure, and has gone out of their way to prove that their very creation was a very bad idea. That said, a utility exists to provide a product in return for payment. It’s not a charity, and those of you condemning CFPUA for removing his meter obviously let your emotions override your logical thought processes.

  • No one is arguing that CFPUA is run like a racket….but if everyone expected what you expect, we would be in complete chaos. People, stop expecting everyone to bail you out. Take some personal responsibility.

  • Daniel Whitfield

    It’s called the hardship department. Every service to the public has an obligation by the provider, if deemed a natural need for life, (electricity, water, sewer, shelter), to provide such services, and have a financial dept. to work with those in need of financial assistance, or are in hard times, or an event that altered their life financially.
    I dont expect charity…I expect customer service!!!
    Thank you, that is all

  • GuestLee

    I never said that. You’re adding to my post. I only said that I thought there may be more to the story.

    Your post sounds like the ranting of an immature 13 year old. Grow up.

  • Daniel Whitfield

    To those of you whom are with me, and too financial hurting family’s… I want to say thank you to all of you, and to let you all know, it’s the small comments of support that gives the little guys like me the boost needed to stand up for what this nation was found for.
    Contact me if you ever need a automotive service or repair, cause the first one is on ME!
    To those of you whom are against me…the corp. America that works in the A/C office, and has everyone else do their work….have fun paying more than the money you owe in life…think about it, look in your banking statements, check books, etc., and you will see what im talking about!

  • GuestLee

    Heaven help you if you go to this man for automotive service. If he will tamper with a water meter and steal from a water company, what will he do to your car? Remember, he’s desperate for money. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • Guest31415

    Gratitude for the support is nice and feels good, but I am not sure if free auto services will help pay down that water bill.

  • GuestLee

    It’s not my job to figure out your story. If YOU can’t figure it out, I sure can’t.

    That being said, if you truly tried to tamper with the water meter like CFPUA is saying, then you deserve the tampering fees. Customers are informed about tampering fees when they first sign up for water, and it’s also in printed brochures and on the internet. It’s not like you didn’t know that it’s illegal.

    I personally buy 1-gallon water jugs from the grocery store for drinking. It’s only 99 cents a gallon, and I don’t have to pay sewer fees. I only use CFPUA water for bathing. I use rain water to water my flowers, when we get rain. At other times, I bite the bullet and use CFPUA water. My bill has only been over $70 once, when I had a broken pipe and they did an adjustment on my bill.

    I can sympathize how difficult it is to pay a costly water bill, but tampering with the meter is not the way out. Perhaps you will think twice before you try that stunt again.

  • Daniel Whitfield

    I admitted to the county deputy that came to press charges that I fell into a financial hard time because of health, I DID turn the shut-off valve on, but 1 time only, so we had water for a week at the most.
    CFPUA said there was “rigging, with Wal-mart pipes”, bypassing the meter…. so, yeah…no stunt done over here… a 4-year old asks to play in the bath tub, you have no water, you know its just the turn of a switch. What are YOU going to do if you lost your job, couldnt get another one due to health, had a little girl looking up at you wanting to play in the bathtub, and had literally 2 nickels in your pocket???
    Same thing, I thought so.

  • GuestLee

    I’ve been there too, and guess what….I didn’t steal. So my 5 year old didn’t get to play in the tub. Big deal. He survived, he learned the value of a dollar, and I kept my morals. You can make all kinds of excuses for stealing, but that doesn’t make it right; it’s still stealing.

    “I DID turn the shut-off valve on, but 1 time only, so we had water for a week at the most.” You still don’t get it. It’s stealing. Whether it’s 1 time or 20. It’s stealing. Whether it’s 1 week or 50 weeks. It’s stealing. When you steal, you run up the rates for all of us, and you teach your 4 year old that it’s OK.

    What makes you so special that you deserve a weeks worth of FREE water? We ALL have burdens to bear. There are lots of elderly people living on fixed incomes that manage to get by without stealing. My health is rotten too, but I still work a full time job and never miss a day. My grown son just got laid off from his job because of the economy and business was slow, so now I’m supporting him until he can find another job. I cut back on other things to make ends meet, but I don’t steal! It burns me up when people like you make excuses for trying to take the short (illegal) way out. You’re just a thief, pure and simple. I hope they throw the book at you; you deserve it.

  • Daniel Whitfield

    Immature would be ranting….that is the only true comment I see here with this comment….

    CFPUA has there OWN collection department….Whoa!!! Amazing thing that is….who would have figured a corporation would have their very own collection department on payroll!!!! BRILLIANT

  • GuestLee

    Uh, CFPUA has a “collections” department, but it’s only collections in the fact that they accept payments on water bills. If you get behind on your water bill, they turn your account over to a nationwide collections company, and then it goes against your credit.

    You really should know the facts before you rant.

  • GuestLee

    By law, CFPUA has to charge all residential customers the same rates regardless of age, race, income, disability, family status or any other distinction. They cannot, by law, issue credits or discounts. You can go to their website to verify this information.

    If you also tamper with their equipment, things can get ugly, as you well know.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    HOW many times were they at your house, re-installing the meter, only to have to yank it again?

    Here’s what youobviously fail to grasp – they don’t specialize in the “hardship department.” Their business, as badly run as it is, is water and sewer. When you’re indigent, you find the money to pay for life’s essentials elsewhere, through organizations that are specifically intended for that purpose.

    You also don’t espouse crap-pola such as not taking from the homeless. There’s no place for psuedo-nobility when your kid is thirsty or needs a bath.

  • GuestLee

    To sum it up…YOU drove your own family out of your home by living beyond your means, not handling your money wisely, trying to get something for nothing, and tampering with a water meter.

    When your daughter wants to know why she can’t go home, tell her daddy messed up…BAD. Then tell her he made it worse by trying to make excuses and blame everybody else, except himself.

  • EvilJim

    I think you owe him a job now.


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