CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Water System (CWS) reports that as of September 1, roughly 4,000 customers were in jeopardy of having their water shut off.
Between August 17 and September 3, approximately 3,137 customers have had their water shut off, despite what CWS says were extensive efforts to work with customers and prevent this worst-case scenario.
CWS says that they expect to shut off the water of about 500 customers a day over the next two weeks. By mid-September, they expect daily shutoffs to drop to around 300 customers. Before the pandemic, CWS averaged around 200 shutoffs per day.
The COVID-19 economic crisis left many customers unable to pay, and CWS says that they worked hard to make a plan for those customers:
“We’ve been incredibly proactive in helping our customers most in need avoid shutoffs since the pandemic began, and we will continue to be.”
However, some customers are making it hard for the company to be accomodating:
“We simply couldn’t avoid shutoffs with rapidly increasing numbers of customers completely ignoring their bills and making no effort to work with us.”
CWS says that the situation is not ideal for anyone involved. They emphasized that they “don’t enjoy shutting off anyone’s water. It’s the most difficult task that [their] staff has to do.”
They hope that as people get word of the increased number of shutoffs taking place, customers with outstanding balances will “get their accounts in order and these numbers will continue to drop.”