Around 100 households have lost access to drinking water since Louisville Water Company resumed disconnections this month.
The economic fallout of the pandemic is taking its toll on utility customers in Louisville. Last month Louisville Gas and Electric began disconnecting customers behind on their bills. Now Louisville Water Company is doing the same.
Around 12,000 Louisville Water customers are past due on their payments. About half of them have already signed up for a payment plan and the rest will be automatically enrolled in one, said Channa Newman, Louisville Water Company spokesperson.
“Clearly we know it’s a stressful time and we don’t want anyone to be put in a bind by their unpaid water bills so we have been communicating with customers,” Newman said.
However, if customers miss even one payment, they could be disconnected. Once that happens, they’ll need to come up with either $500 or one third of the payment owed to resume service.
Customers late on their bills owe an average of $700. Those who are behind can sign up for a payment plan at louisvillewater.com through their Drops of Kindness program.
LG&E began disconnecting residential customers on June 14. They’ve since disconnected around 3,600 customers in their service territory, which includes Louisville and 16 surrounding counties.
Chanelle Helm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Louisville, says the disconnections are inhumane when the pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown has cost people their lives and livelihoods.
“We just saw entire industries collapse. We also saw pieces of other industries collapse. Those jobs aren’t there any more for those folks. It’s going to take months for people to even find a job in a pandemic response,” Helm said. “And we are ignoring that.”