Residents trying to pay water bills turned away due to computer glitch

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Another round of water shut-offs loom for about 20,000 Detroiters.

One woman who got a notice says she's current on her bill, but couldn't make a payment even when she showed up to the water department.

She said she had her money in hand to avoid water shut off but the city turned her away.

FOX2: "Have you been paying your bill?"

"Yes I’ve been paying my bill," said Felisa Fair

Felisa Fair bought her Detroit house on Indiana three years ago. With it, she claims she inherited the outstanding water bill that was more than $1,500.

She had worked out a payment plan with the city and had been paying it down each month. That’s why she was shocked to see this notice hanging on her door and to learn she was says away from getting her water shut off.

"They send shut off, they put a big bright orange note on the door," she said. "And now I'm panicking. I don't understand why are you coming to turn my services off

On Friday, Fair rushed down to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department's west side customer service center on Grand River, where she says she waited in line with dozens of others for more than four hours.

"There were school-size children sleeping in chairs, it was like a soup line," she said. "It was like we were there for handouts not there to pay a bill."

But at 5 p.m. she was turned away. The clerk told the crowd the computer system went down and they had no idea when it would be fixed.

"So I have the half (payment) right here," Fair said. "Which is $450, which is half of the bill. They sent us away. They told us the system wasn't coming back up."

Detroit has threatened water shutoffs to around 20,000 people who have defaulted on payments, but fair doesn't believe the city can keep up with its own demands.

FOX 2 spoke to the city late Friday; the water department's Director Gary Brown assured us the computer system is back online. The downtown service center will be open on Saturday for anyone looking to make good on their past due water bill.

But Fair still isn't convinced.

"I don't believe anything they say because I was in an agreement and they sent a shut off notice anyway," Fair said. "I don't know what they are doing."

Brown says anyone who goes to make a payment Saturday will go to a cashier and he will have crews on standby to restore the water service.