Water credit is not enough

To the editor:

First of all, I want to make it clear I am NOT angry at anyone. In fact, I specifically want to state how thankful I am to the City of Houghton Water Department and to the gentleman who came to my home to get my water running again. I discovered my water pipe was frozen on Feb. 4, 2014. The help given to me when I called the City of Houghton Water Department made it possible for me to get my water pipe situation resolved the very same day before any damage could be done (such as the water pipe breaking).

What I AM upset about though, is that since I was specifically directed to run my water 24/7 – “until April” – I was in no way prepared for what this would equate to, financially. I am a pensioner and to discover that the next water bill I am going to receive will be over $200 was shocking to me, to say the least. For me, this is like paying for almost 7 months of my normal water bills inside of one month! I am now extremely worried about my future water bills when I am still required to let my water run 24/7. Yes, I know it’s still cheaper than the alternative of possible repairs, but goodness!

I have been informed I will receive a “maximum credit of 700 cf for the months of January, February and March.” This is information from the City of Houghton, via their website.

I am very concerned about all my neighbors, other pensioners, people living on even more limited incomes in fact, all the residents of Houghton. In conclusion, what I am saying is: be prepared to be shocked when you get your next water bills! I really feel that the policy regarding how we are billed (when specifically instructed to let the water run) should most definitely be revisited.

I am of course, grateful that I will receive any “credit” at all, but seriously I should not have to consider “taking out a loan” to pay my water bills due to their astronomical dollar amounts! The City of Houghton’s “maximum credit” is not enough, in my opinion.

Especially when there are one or more local communities smaller than Houghton who are not charging their water customers at all for running water during this extreme weather.

Jennifer Weirtz

HOUGHTON