Several people protested outside the Detroit Water And Sewerage Department building Thursday, saying customers are having service cut off at an alarming rate and the practice is inhumane.As a board member of the local water co-op, I would just add that the entitlement philosophy regarding water is not restricted to Detroit. We have a significant number of people in arrears, some to the same level of mid hundred dollars, and many people just don't pay until the shut off notice is put on their doors.
Organizer David Bullock with the Change Agent Consortium says the water department is going after customers that may be as little as $150 delinquent and says the department ignores large corporations which are behind.
“People always want to attack the poor … why are we attacking poor people?” he asked. But when asked which large companies are behind in their payments, Bullock would only say that WWJ should research the issue.
“I think you all should be standing with us,” Bullock told WWJ’s Marie Osborne. “I think you all should be demanding the same level of accountability for firms and corporations in the city of Detroit – that they are levying on residential customers.” The water department states that there are about 60,000 delinquent accounts in the city of Detroit – with the average arrearage about $560.
City of Detroit Water And Sewerage Department Deputy Director, Darryl Latimer, said every account corporate or private is treated the same, adding that the water department does what they can to work with those who come forward and address their hardship situation. “The majority of our customers (who) are in delinquency status, they just built a culture of ,’You’re not making me pay— I am not going to pay’,” said Latimer.
It costs real money to develop water sources, treat the water, store the water for use, and pump the water to consumers. Why people think it should be their right to get it just for breathing is disheartening. The cheaper something is, the less people value it.