BIRMINGHAM Ala. (WIAT) — Members of the Birmingham Water Works have spoken out for the first time since Mayor Randall Woodfin took them to task earlier this week.
Woodfin called out the board for what he called a poor billing system. He said he has received complaints about extremely high water bills and inconsistent billing. He also called the board to step aside so the general manager could properly address and resolve billing issues customers are experiencing.
“We need this board to get out of the way and allow the general manager and their team who are responsible for the day-to-day operations to do their job,” Woodfin said in a Twitter post.
In response to the mayor, Birmingham Water Works spokesperson Rick Jackson said the board welcomes all feedback as they see critical comments as an opportunity to improve.
Jackson said the board’s focus remains on serving customers to the best of their ability. He also encouraged customers to reach out to customer service so they may work personally with each person experiencing issues.
“We welcome all comments from our customers as an opportunity just to get better,” Jackson said. “Our focus is to serve our customers to the best of our ability. We have a lot of things going on to ensure that our customers receive that best service.”
Jackson said billing issues could be the result of a number of things, such as low staff, leaks or obstruction of meters. However, he said the board is working to resolve all billing issues.
In addition, Jackson said Birmingham Water Works will announce a new bill format that will be coming in September. He said the new format is designed to help customers better understand their water bills.
Jackson hopes the new format will help with billing efficiency as well.
“We are excited about that,” he said. “We are welcoming all feedback good, bad and indifferent, but we are really, really positive and confident that customers are really going to enjoy this.”
Woodfin’s office declined to respond when asked for comment on the matter.