The Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) is implementing a new policy aimed at addressing long-overdue water bills. SCWA will begin placing liens on properties with outstanding water bills on active accounts exceeding $1,000 and 90 days past due as of May 31 as well as all unpaid closed accounts. More than $10 million is currently owed in past due balances across 30,000 accounts. This measure is part of the authority’s ongoing efforts to ensure the financial stability of its operations and maintain reliable water services for the residents of Suffolk County.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State disallowed service shut-offs, resulting in an increase in delinquent accounts. In the years before the pandemic, SCWA typically saw around $4 million in past due bills across less than 4,000 accounts. With this significant increase in customer debt, it has become necessary for SCWA to take proactive measures.
The decision to initiate liens is essential to safeguard the interests of all ratepayers and maintain the integrity of the water system. By implementing this lien initiative, the authority aims to encourage timely payment and discourage further accumulation of debt. SCWA remains committed to providing quality water services to its customers while ensuring the financial sustainability of its operations.
Commenting on the new policy, SCWA Board chair Charles Lefkowitz stated, “As the custodian of Suffolk County’s water resources, it is our responsibility to ensure the financial sustainability of our operations. We recognize the challenges faced by our customers during the pandemic and appreciate the state’s measures to protect their interests. However, as we move forward, it is crucial to address the mounting overdue bills to maintain the reliability and quality of our water services for the benefit of all residents.”
“We understand that many of our customers have faced financial hardships during these unprecedented times,” added chief executive officer Jeffrey Szabo. “We want to work with them to find viable solutions. If residents are concerned that their account may be at risk of a lien, we encourage them to reach out to our customer service center. Our dedicated team is here to assist customers, provide guidance on payment options, and explore potential assistance programs.”
Residents are urged to contact the customer service center at 631-698-9500 to discuss any concerns related to their water bills or potential liens. The authority will make every effort to work collaboratively with customers to resolve outstanding balances.
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