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Rising water: STL requests up for water bills

With water and sewer bills coming due, a record number of St. Louisans are calling to 2-1-1 for payment assistance. Back in March, as the COVID-19 pandemic began, Missouri American Water suspended all shut-offs and late payment fees to help customers who were experiencing financial hardship. Those who have fallen behind must now pay the past-due balances, and calls for help to 2-1-1 are rising. We examined 5,446 requests for water bill payment assistance in 2019 (blue line in chart) and 2020 (red line). From January 1st to August 20th, total requests were slightly lower in 2020 compared to 2019 (-15%), likely because late fees and disconnections were suspended. But from August 21st to November 2nd, totals requests are 116% higher in 2020. Customers needing help setting up an payment installment plan or connecting to the H2O Help to Others should call 2-1-1 or Missouri American Water at 866-430-0820. Data were obtained from 2-1-1 Counts, a tracking system of daily community needs in Missouri. The chart shows a 7-day moving average of daily requests for water bill payment assistance calculated using current and six prior days. Mouse over each line in the chart to see the average daily requests on that day.

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