BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Brace yourselves, your water bills are coming.
Baltimore City Department of Public Works Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E., said Wednesday that water billing for Baltimore City and Baltimore County will resume Wednesday.
This marks the end of the issues caused by a ransomware attack that began May 6.
Water meters continued to record water consumption, DPW said, but because of the network outage, they were unable to process the data and produce water bills.
The bills being sent out will cover water/sewer/stormwater charges for April, May, June and July in Baltimore City and for Baltimore County.
Some major sticker shock is expected.
The City of Baltimore's water billing system is now fully operational. Review the following FAQ responses for more information on your water bill. pic.twitter.com/RyFpEg54PP
— Baltimore City Hall (@BaltCityHall) August 7, 2019
Baltimore City water bills will also reflect a July 1 rate increase, approved by the Board of Estimates in January, DPW added.
Late fees have been waived until November 2019, due to the inconvenience.
But the department isn’t just sending the bill to you blind- the first bill will also include a “sample bill” insert that explains the line items in the bill.
How Can I Pay The Bill?
- Walk-ins (200 Holliday Street, Baltimore, MD 21202)
- Mail (200 Holliday Street, Baltimore, MD 21202)
- Online and Telephone
The department asks for residents to make checks or money ordres payable to “Director of Finance- Baltimore City” and include the account number on the check.
I’m Confused, Where Can I Get Some Help?
Starting Monday, August 12, the City’s Bureau of Revenue will have staff available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Monday-Friday) to accept Water Bill payments at Abel Wolman Municipal Building, 200 Holliday St.
In-person DPW Customer Support and Services assistance is available Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 200 Holliday St., Room 8.
What If I Already Made Payments During The Outage Not Online?
Any customers who made payments by check or money order throughout the outage should see that reflected on their first bill. DPW said anyone with issues should gather their receipts or bank statements and talk to the Customer Support and Services Division at 410-396-5398 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., or email DPW.Billing@baltimorecity.gov
Can I Get Extra Time To Pay This Off?
If you need extra time to pay off the larger-than-normal water bills can sign up for a monthly payment plan, dubbed the Water Bill Payment Program.
Those monthly payment plans will let customers make a down payment and “pledge” to pay off the balance over a six-month or 12-month period, DPW said.
They also mentioned the Baltimore H2O Assists program, which offers discounts and fee waivers through an annual grant that can give more affordability to customers who live below 50 percent of the poverty line.
Which could be helpful as some families worry the bill will set them back.
“We have a pool in the back a little baby pool and that thing uses a lot of water,” said David Huber.
David Huber does what many people do- pays his bills online. Some residents pay their bill in person at the City office so they don’t get behind, but it might have slipped your mind without a bill coming to your mailbox.
“I’m not gonna pay a bill I haven’t seen, I have other bills to take care of out of sight out of mind,” said Martin Francios.
Francios owns a few properties in the area, so whatever massive bill he gets has to be divided up and passed along to his tenants.
“I have two buildings with no bills and I know it’ll be high so I have to prepare for that,”
The first 10,000 bills get mailed out Wednesday, but there are about 200,000 customers total, and city officials said everyone should have their bill by the end of the month.