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Queens Chronicle

Water bills hurt

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

(An open letter to Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland)

I am writing to express both my outrage and my desperation.

Over the past three months I have paid almost six hundred dollars $600 in water and sewer charges, an average of just under $200 per month. That is more than my average natural gas and electricity charges combined. And now I receive a bill for a “minimum charge” because I have not used, in your estimation, a sufficient amount of water for this billing period to warrant equitable billing.

How dare you?

Water and sewer services are utilities, much like those provided by Con Edison. And yet, Con Ed understands the reduced circumstances of most senior citizens. It has seen fit to institute methods to assist us. It directs customers who are having a hard time due to fixed incomes to ways that their utility charges can be reduced and to assistance (not charity) to pay them based on income. But you find it appropriate to overcharge us for things already covered in the excessive property taxes we pay. Indeed, both water and sewer services once were delivered at no charge at all to the homeowner. Now they constitute just one more excessive charge.

You appear to have no comprehension of two essential facts about senior citizens, those of us in our so-called golden years. We are fixed incomers of advanced age, most of whom have outlived our marital partners, live alone and therefore utilize fewer essential services than before.

And yet, in light of all of this, you see fit to punish us with a minimum charge of your excessive and ever-rising fees. And you do that notwithstanding that, in your literature, you ask us to conserve. Where is your conscience? Where is your sense of fair play? Where is your fundamental sense of logic?

I look forward to your timely reply.

Stuart Hersh

Welcome to the discussion.