Raleigh residents can get help paying water bills when city resumes shutting off service

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Time's running out for some Raleigh water customers who've postponed payment of their water bills because of COVID-19 related income adjustments.

Starting next February, the city is prepared to disconnect some water access for those with delinquent accounts and no established payment plan.

"I've had so many people call who were really concerned about their water bill," Sylvia Wiggins of the Helping Hand Mission said. "Concerned about how it's gonna be, even though you give us a break and you say, 'you ain't gotta pay this month,' it's steadily accumulating. How they're gonna take care of this is a major problem for them. And I tell them, 'you know what? Continue washing your hands, continue trying to be safe. It's very, very important for the children, for yourself, for the elderly.' A young lady told me she was so stressed out, I said, 'why are you so stressed?' 'I got all these bills, I don't know what to do,' she says, with the utility bills. And I told her, I said, 'maybe something's in the works for water.'"

Raleigh officials said there are options for people who have been delaying payments due to COVID-19.

RELATED: North Carolinians faced with dilemma of which bills to pay, which to ignore

"There are resources available, assistance programs to help them pay their utility bill," said Ed Buchan, Raleigh Water senior utilities analyst. "We don't want to cut anybody off. That's our goal. Our goal is to make sure everybody knows about these resources. And if you're on a payment plan, and you're sticking to that payment plan, there will not be any disconnections."

He urges worried water customers to apply for the Wake Helps program, administered by the county's Health and Human Services department.

"They have assistance there for all sorts of utilities, but we want to focus on the water-sewer portion of that. You have to have some impact from COVD-19. We recognize that a lot of people have that impact, and are struggling economically," he said.

Residents can reach the program at 919-212-0476.

Buchan also mentioned Project Share, a contribution program where people can give to help out families in need.

"This really is gonna help keep you and your family, neighbors, community healthy," Wiggins said.

The application deadline is December 30. For details on the Wake Helps program and other payment plan options, click here.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.