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Detroit no longer using door tags to notify customers of shutoffs

city of Detroit skyline
James Marvin Phelps
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A group of Native Americans

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is no longer placing door notices on homes of customers who haven't paid their bills.

Instead, the department is encouraging customers to look for the notices on their bills in the mail, or check them online. 

Bryan Peckinpaugh, spokesman for DWSD, said bills have a clearly labeled "account status" box on them, with bold font to let people know if they are behind or in danger of being shut off. 

He said the department cut the door tags to save money. But, he said DWSD uses additional means to reach people.

"We  do have a new e-mail system that the city of Detroit utilizes that we're also utilizing at DWSD to communicate with our customers through text and e-mail," Peckinpaugh said.

He added that residents can set up a payment plan with DWSD, and the department's collection efforts have shifted to businesses from residencies.

But DeMeeko Williams, political director of the Detroit Water Brigade, said this isn't enough.

His organization advocates against water shutoffs in the city. He said many Detroiters, especially the elderly, don't use e-mail and may not get the extra notification. 

He wants to see the department do more.

"They say it's costly to send out mailings and door-hangers, well it's costly to shutoff people," he said. 

Customers can pay their bills and look into setting up a payment plan at the DWSD website: www.dwsd.org. 

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