Cleveland public utilities committee working to improve water department customer service

A series of hearings will continue this summer

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland City Council Public Utilities Committee is holding a series of hearings in order to help improve customer service at the Cleveland Division of Water.

"We are working diligently with Mayor Jackson and his directors to turn around customer service," said Utilities Committee Chairman Kevin Kelley. "We need to address the issues raised by our residential and business customers."

Thousands of consumer complaints have flooded water department customer service representatives over the past year, after the water department reported 60,000 water bills were held in limbo and more than 16,000 waters meter were reported broken or inaccurate last summer.

NewsChannel5 has received four dozen consumer complaints about the Cleveland Division of Water since last November.

The Cleveland City Council utilities committee has been meeting since March of 2010, working to get the water department to meet a specific set of customer service benchmarks--benchmarks water department leaders say are being met.

Since July 2010, the Cleveland Division of Water reports customer service wait times have been reduced from 45 minutes to an average of 2 minutes per phone call. The number of broken water meters have been reduced to just under 2,300 and the number of missing, or pending water bills have been reduced to just 493 as of April 15.

5 On Your Side asked utility committee chairman Kevin Kelley some key questions about future improvements in water department customer service.

"We're going to look at every dollar spent in the Cleveland Division of Water, we're going to look at every aspect of the operation," Kelley said.

5 On Your Side is committed to keeping you updated on progress at the Cleveland Division of Water, a utility that serves 1.5 million consumers in 70 Northeast Ohio communities.

This story is the fourth story in a series of stories will be producing concerning problems and solutions at the Cleveland Division of Water over the next two weeks. Coming up on Wednesday morning, we show you how 5 On Your Side traveled to Columbus and searched for help from the Ohio attorney general, in resolving the customer service issues at the Cleveland Division of Water.

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