The Oklahoma City Utilities Department is set to shut off water service for overdue accounts in February after pausing all disconnections last year.
Jennifer McClintock, spokesperson for the utilities department said about 16,000 residential accounts are behind on payments totaling about $9 million.
“This is something we simply, as a public utility can’t keep up with,” she said. ‘Oklahoma City had set aside some funds to help with this in the interim but we’re at the end of the line with those.”
The city water utility services about 190,000 residential accounts. Before the pandemic, McClintock said the number of overdue accounts hovered around 400.
In March, the city suspended water shutoffs because of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure access to water for handwashing and general hygiene.
“Unfortunately, almost a year has lapsed now, and this is no longer sustainable,” McClintock said.
Notices have gone out to overdue accounts, McClintock said. Shutoffs will resume in the February pay period. Any account that owes more than $90 will face an expedited disconnection process.
“Those folks who are 90 dollars or more in past-due payments, they need to call as quickly as they can,” McClintock said.
Anyone behind on payments can set up a payment plan with the city to keep their water running. Programs are also available through the Salvation Army and other organizations to help with subsidizing bills.
McClintock said the city can help with payment plans or connect customers to outside organizations through the utility department’s customer service number: 405-297-2833
“We want to avoid those shutoffs. It’s not pleasant for us,” McClintock said. “It’s not something that we want to do, but we need to be able to have our customers contact us so we can work with them to get this taken care of.”