Detroit extended its suspension of water shutoffs for residential customers with unpaid bills for an additional three weeks on Monday. The Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage halted service to about 7,200 homes and businesses in June and 4,531 in May, according to the department. On July 21, the city had announced it would suspend the practice for 15 days. On Monday officials said the moratorium would be extended through August 25.
The Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage and Mayor Mike Duggan have devised a plan to "redesign" the city's strategy of collecting overdue water bills, the department said in a statement. The plan will be announced Thursday, and the extension until August 25 will allow the city and customers with unpaid bills to adapt to the process, the statement said. "Our customers now have one last opportunity until August 25th to make the appropriate arrangements," Duggan said. "I'm convinced the great majority of Detroiters will step up and take care of their bills," he added. Before the shutoffs, Detroit Water and Sewerage had an 83 percent collection rate, leading to tens of millions of dollars of debt for the department in an already bankrupt city, NBC affiliate WDIV reported.
— Elisha Fieldstadt
First published August 4 2014, 10:21 AM