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Thousands of Brussels households cannot pay water bills due to IT problem

09:56 09/01/2023

An ongoing technical problem at water provider Vivaqua has caused an estimated 90,000 Brussels households to fall behind with their bill payments.

About a quarter of Vivaqua customers in the Brussels region have stopped receiving regular bills for their water consumption since last summer - and any automatic direct-debit payments are no longer being taken.

The problem arose after the water firm adopted a new IT system at the end of 2021, which was set up with the goal of issuing quarterly invoices for water usage to every Brussels household.

Due to problems with migrating customer data from the old system to the new one, many customers are no longer receiving their water bills.

Municipal welfare agencies (CPAS) around Brussels are worried that vulnerable customers, already faced with soaring energy costs, will struggle to pay the backlog when the problem is finally fixed and an unexpectedly high water bill arrives in their letterbox.

Vivaqua, which has a monopoly on water provision in the Brussels region, said it did not know how much longer it would take for the IT problem to be fixed.

"When I call customer service, I get no answers," one Brussels resident told Bruzz. "The employees cannot help, because they do not know when the problem with the software will be solved."

The water provider said a team of internal and external experts were working on a solution. The results of an internal audit into the problem are expected "in the coming months", Bruzz reports.

Written by The Bulletin