Detroit tells judge: We can't give away free water

Posted at 10:12 AM, Sep 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-22 07:33:04-04

DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit is telling a judge it must have the power to cut off water to people who haven't paid their bills or worked out a payment plan.

Attorney Sonal Mithani says critics want free water. She says that would violate Michigan law and hurt the finances of the water department.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes is holding a hearing Monday on a request to stop shutoffs for six months and restore service to people who have lost water.

The city stepped up shutoffs in March if customers were 60 days behind or owed more than $150. About 15,000 customers lost water from April through June.

In response to criticism, Detroit has encouraged people to put down 10 percent and get into a payment plan.