Judge Henry Wingate, JXN Water chief Ted Henifin, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Interim Third-Party Director Ted Henifin said this week that only about 59% of the City of Jackson’s water customers are paying their bills.
JXN Water has announced new rates and fees coming in 2024. Those who are not paying will be at risk of shut offs.
The company, which was established by federal appointed interim Third-Party Director Ted Henifin, has been overseeing the city’s water system for the better part of a year.
Officials estimated that the average cost for water in the city was $76 per month for residents. Henifin clarified that JXN water will not attempt to recoup any charges prior to November 29, 2022, and will work with those who have failed to pay since that time.
He said only about 59 percent of the city’s water customers are paying their bills.
“You can’t forgive bills, so we have to be creative in how we part that,” said Henifin in reference to Mississippi’s laws that prevent giving away water.
According to a release by JXN Water announcing the rate changes, residents in single family households with small meters that use up to 748 gallons daily would see a bill increase of roughly .30 cents per day. Research indicates that the average U.S. family uses 300 gallons per day.
SNAP customers will have a new rate tier that could lower their bill by up to .69 cents per day, on average.
“Those who need to save the most benefit from saving money by drinking tap water. This new rate structure makes water affordability possible for 12,500 JXN Water customers who receive SNAP benefits,” said Henifin in the release.
New fees will also be implemented, including a new service fee of $50, service deposit of $100, returned check fee of $25, service restoration fee of $100, and meter tampering charge of $500.
JXN Water has continued to encourage residents to use the water, with Henifin going on the record in a federal status hearing saying that the water “was safe to drink.”
More conversation regarding the billing process is expected to come at next week’s Jackson City Council meeting.