WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority will soon have a new program for customers who may find themselves falling behind on payments.
Instead of completely cutting off water services, CFPUA would install a device that provides a restricted flow of water for delinquent accounts.
The pilot program will launch in January.
“In preliminary testing, it was estimated that the restrictors will reduce water flow at a residence to approximately one to one-half gallon per minute. This flow rate was sufficient to fill a 12-ounce glass in about 12 seconds,” CFPUA wrote in a news release. “The CFPUA Board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the pilot program at its September 9 regular meeting. During the pilot program, CFPUA staff will assess the function and effectiveness of the flow restrictors and make any changes necessary.”
Prior to this year, CFPUA customers who were at least 60 days overdue on payment were eligible for drinking water service disconnection, which completely shut off water flow to the home.
“CFPUA announced that it was suspending delinquency-related disconnections and late fees on March 13, more than two weeks before an executive order by Governor Roy Cooper barred disconnections and late fees,” according to the release. “The executive order expired July 30, but CFPUA has maintained its suspension. For residential customers, the suspension of shutoffs and late fees will continue until the pilot program begins. Even under the suspension and during the pilot program, however, regular account charges will continue to accrue. CFPUA encourages customers who may be behind on bills to contact customer service at 910-332-6550 to discuss options for payment.”
CFPUA says this program is only for residential customers, meaning businesses will still be eligible for disconnection.
“For nonresidential customers who are at least 60 days delinquent in payment and have not contacted CFPUA to make payment arrangements, shutoffs and late fees will resume this month,” CFPUA wrote. “Nonresidential customers eligible for disconnection will be notified before service is disconnected. As of early September, 4,200 residential accounts and 290 nonresidential accounts were at least 60 days delinquent.”