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Improvements to the water billing system can’t come soon enough for fed up customers

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson residents are growing tired of waiting for the new water billing system and meters as mounting bills arrive in the mail.

According to one customer, the city knows the system is broken, but seems to lack concern.

“I initially started this process with no kids,” said Emmberly Jefferson. “Now I have a two, soon to be three-year-old.”

The Old Canton Road resident has not received a Jackson water bill in four years despite efforts to get a statement. She requested that her hidden backyard meter be moved to the front like her neighbors in hopes of receiving a bill.

The 30 -year-old was told a work order was placed but nothing was done.

“In 2017, after going back and forth over a year, I said you know what, I’m not gonna go down there anymore,” said Jefferson. “I’m not gonna call anymore. I’ll get a bill whenever they send it.”

A statement arrived for more than $1,400 this weekend. The legal assistant has kept records of her calls, visits and estimated bills. She wants the flawed system overhaul quickly.

“Just keep hitting dead end after dead end and get poor customer service when you call, if somebody answers the phone,” said the frustrated water customer.

According to Jackson Interim Communications Director Ashley McLaughlin, a new online portal Digital Self Serve is now on the city’s website. It is under UMS Meter and Billing Updates and allows customers to create their own login and see their bills in real time to compare usage.

Utility Metering Solutions is now installing new commercial meters. McLaughlin said if a citizen gets an irregular bill, the water department has been asked to prioritize that meter review to see if its malfunctioning so that they may get an updated meter or a meter replacement.

“Something needs to be done, and something needs to be done soon,” said Jefferson.

Surveys are underway on residential meters. That installation should begin in January. The project is expected to be competed by November 2023.

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