Restaurant and catering business owner Bessemer worries about utility bills

BESSEMER, Ala. (WBRC) – A Jefferson County woman says her water is turned off several times a month by Bessemer Utilities, causing problems for her food service and catering business.

It all started in November 2021 when Bessemer Utilities surprised Chef Julia May of Homestyle Kitchen with a $41,000 bill.

“When I saw the bill, I was like, ‘Hey. Wait a minute,” Chef May said. ““My question is: how did he get there and why did it take $41,000 before he came to collect money?”

May says the COVID-19 pandemic had her scrambling and missing a few payments, but the huge bill came as a big surprise. She confided her problems to Jerry Yarbrough, the manager of Bessemer Utilities. She said they had discussed how to reduce the bill.

She says after putting down a deposit of $6,500, she was put on a payment plan of $2,000 a month.

“I pay on time, so I reflect, and they cut my water off,” May said. “I’m like – ‘You can’t do anything without water. Why is the water shut off? »

The chef says this started happening in January and his water is cut off 3-4 times a month causing problems for his business.

“I had two catering jobs yesterday,” she added. “I couldn’t do them, so I had to give back the money I didn’t have.”

Because the issue has gone on for so many months, May decided to take the issue to the city council. She says the mayor met with Yarbrough and then she met him on Thursday.

“They found another solution,” she continued. “I’m supposed to pay $2,225 versus $2,000.”

May says that’s also when she was told payments were due on the 30th of each month, something no one had told her before. She wants the utility company to stay consistent and keep its word.

“I just pray that from now on they hold their end of the bargain,” May said.

WBRC FOX6 contacted Bessemer Utilities on Friday for answers, but did not receive a response Friday evening.

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