WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's been a never ending battle with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority for one disabled veteran. Talmadge Pearce is just one of many people in New Hanover County, who do without water because of billing problems by the water monopoly.
It's been two years now and Pearce is still trying to come to an agreement with the CFPUA so he can take a shower and go to the bathroom.
In July 2008 when the city and the county handed over water and sewer service to the CFPUA the last thing Pearce thought was he'd be living without water.
"I'm still dealing with the same issue and the reason I'm speaking out right now is because of the simple fact why do we have to suffer for their mistake and their negligence?" asked Pearce. "I mean why do we have to suffer for it?"
Pearce is a Vietnam veteran living on a fixed income. He's been fighting the same battle in Wilmington for two years. The CFPUA says when the water switched hands it faced computer software problems that caused billing to back up for at least five months. Customers were opening their mail to find outrageous bills they could not afford.
"We stated to them that it was not our problem," said Pearce. "It was not our mistake because he knew as well as I knew that I was trying to find a way to pay the bill."
The bills began to pile on and Pearce could not pay them in full. As a result the CFPUA shut off his water. He's now forced to get water from the creek and neighbors and lives out of these buckets.
CFPUA Chair Gene Renzaglia said, "If we go down the road and several months down the road the customer has made no attempt to work with us or to make any payments then we do take the action to cut their service off."
Pearce said he's made several attempts to negotiate with the CFPUA and has the paperwork to prove it.
"I want to make it very clear that that is the last thing that we ever want to do is to shut anybody's water off," said Renzaglia. "We do not take that action lightly so we are always open to discussions with the customer in order to find a way or a method to get payments in and for them to continue to have water and sewer service."
Despite Pearce's efforts to reach an agreement and pay what he can on his fixed income he's still without water.