May 5, 2020

Can’t Pay? Let’s Talk.

**UPDATE 10/8/2020**

If your financial situation has changed as a result of COVID-19, the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority have announced that the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program has been expanded to include water utility bills. Learn more here: https://www.iowafinance.com/iowa-residential-utility-disruption-prevention-program. The Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program provides eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. Payments through the program will be made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account. The application deadline is November 20, 2020. Please contact Iowa Finance Authority at (515) 348-8976 or 877-463-3269.

The availability of safe water supply is critically important to the public health of our community, especially under unprecedented circumstances such as these. Water supports healthcare professionals and many essential businesses during the pandemic. And proper hand-washing is an important step in curbing community spread of COVID-19.

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) understands this is a difficult time for many customers. We have worked to offer a customer-focused response that balances sensitivity to our customers’ situations with sustainable utility operations.

In mid-March, DMWW temporarily suspended service termination for delinquent accounts during this public health emergency. Customers will still receive termination notices so they are aware of their delinquent balance, but a message has been added to the bill stating that disconnections have been temporarily suspended. 

It is very important for customers who receive a termination notice and are struggling to pay their bill to call DMWW at (515) 283-8700.  DMWW customer service representatives are experienced in working with customers to discuss available options, like payment arrangements or connecting customers with other resources.

Payment arrangements are a collection assistance program that DMWW offers at all times to eligible customers. It is important that customers honor their commitment to pay or communicate with a customer service representative proactively when they are unable to do so in order to remain eligible for this assistance.

Des Moines Water Works also has limited customer assistance funds, known as Project H2O, for which customers may qualify.  More information about this fund can be found at www.dmww.com/customer-service/project-h20

As the COVID-19 pandemic eases, DMWW will resume terminating service for customers with delinquent, unpaid balances.  Customers with delinquent balances should be aware their service could be terminated when normal operations resume, unless they have called to make arrangements with a customer service representative.  

During this time, please remember Des Moines Water Works’ General Office remains closed to the public. In-home customer service visits and backflow inspection visits are temporarily suspended, unless an emergency.

While walk-in customer service is temporarily suspended, Des Moines Water Works offers a variety of opportunities for your payment and customer service needs:

  • Phone:  Please call (515) 283-8700, and a Customer Service Representative is available to assist you Monday-Friday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Pay by electronic check (no fee) or credit card ($2.75 convenience fee).
  • Online Account:  Login to online account to pay by recurring credit card, direct pay or electronic check (no fees) or credit card ($2.75 convenience fee).
  • Drop Box:  Place bill stub and payment in the payment drop box located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.
  • Mail:  Mail bill stub and payment to PO Box 9227, Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9227.
  • Pay Stations:  Customers may make monthly payment at most local HyVee and Wal-Mart stores. The pay station may charge a fee for this service; however, these fees are not collected by Des Moines Water Works.

For more information about Des Moines Water Works’ COVID-19 repsonse, visit: http://www.dsmh2o.com/des-moines-water-works-response-to-covid-19/

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Uncategorized

One Response to “Can’t Pay? Let’s Talk.”

  1. October 26, 2020 at 11:28 am, James Carpenter and Kim Childs said:

    We are scheduled yet again for termination of service. We’ve taken advantage of H20, and Impact Community services. My husband has been unemployed for over a year now and I’m am disabled. The sum total of our income per month is limited to my social security check. We had a water disruption I think last December and it caused me to be hospitalized with both pseudomonas and e.Coli sepsis. I was tested for four different forms of COVID at the time because I am immuno-compromised. COVID has not gone away, and since we had both vehicles taken back from our inability to continue to pay I rarely leave this house. My Social Security is not paying our mortgage or power or anything and we have limited resources to travel or negotiate with other charities or resources. Until COVID eases my husband will probably not find another job-Iowa’s workforce office is closed. Our phones are off except for text and email. My husband called this morning because you state if we are having trouble paying you will connect us with resources or give us payment arrangements but only if we qualify-that’s like saying we won’t deal with you because your eyes are blue or your skin is brown or black. We are seriously on the verge of homelessness and we were told today that we have until tomorrow morning to bring you $300, because we’ve haven’t kept payment arrangements. I have memory loss due to a bad drug reaction. I frequently can’t remember my child growing up let alone who I’m supposed to pay when. Des Moines is supposed to be proactive in keeping people from being homeless because of limited or fixed incomes-heck there’s supposed to be housing specifically coming that helps us. I don’t understand why you won’t work with us and everyone else in my position with COVID-My husband didn’t want to lose his job and I didn’t want to be disable or poor. Both my husband and I haven’t always been in this situation and as soon as COVID ends he will go back to work and we can begin paying you in a better way. Why won’t you work with us and stop our water termination tomorrow? Your website says you will. Are you liars? Does the utilities commission approve of such harsh treatment of economically challenged people. Anybody read about the city of Houston pumping petrochemicals into neighborhoods primarily housing people of color and lower income? That’s bias from them on a huge level! Will you be the same DMWW. I came back to Iowa after 30 years -l went through Fort Des Moines when females were rare in joining military-I was born and raised here, but got married and living in several other states that actually have policies renewing payment arrangements no matter the situation. It worked for those communities, why couldn’t it work for here too. Just because we are going through this pandemic does not me we don’t want to work or pay our bills. I moved back to this state after my daughter graduated college with a degree in Microbiology/Cell and Molecular biology and a minor in Environmental Sciences. I had high hopes when I came here, but your policies as far as customer service are actually draconian, biased and frankly embarrassing. I am a voter and you better believe my Senators and Congressional representatives will hear about my treatment and that fact that literally when you shut off water to a home-any home-you create hazardous living conditions which encourage the growth of bacteria, fungus, molds, and while this version of COVID is transmitted by air, many many many are not. And viruses can mutate and adapt, bacteria can be extremophiles, living in frigid water or extreme heat, a dark if, so the can travel in the former Space Shuttle into space because the don’t need air to survive. Think about the fact that my life hangs in the balance every time you decide to cut off clean water. I’m terrified of being in ICU again with sepsis. How many others do you do this to? I would like to think Des Moines would set an example in this nation-if there’s anything that COVID is teaching all of us now, just as the Black Plague did centuries ago is that we need, we must work with each other and we must be kinder to each other. If companies or agencies such as yourself want to be considered as people or considered to be innovative and progressive in their programs and thinking, they-YOU-must change your attitudes and your policies and look at us all as HUMANS, not as poor, or lazy, or black, white, etc. If for some reason you discover that you will continue to work with us until this pandemic is good and gone, please email at the above address. If you choose otherwise, I will be a voice out there for change and I will let anyone who will listen know about our treatment. Starting with the PUC, then state and fed agencies, my social media followers, and last but not least, I will eviscerate you in non-fiction writing. I am a writer after all. Thank you for reading this. I hope you too will affect change and be kinder to everyone. While I am upset with our treatment, I am not upset at you for being on the other end of my rant. In fact, I wish you and your loved ones and friends nothing but kindness, health, joy and good fortune. Please be safe -wear a mask to be kind to others. And please don’t let my writing cause your day to be more difficult-I am grateful to you for doing your job.
    Kim Childs and James Carpenter

    Reply

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