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Baltimore water customers will receive reminders in the mail that their bills will be larger than usual

Water customers in the city of Baltimore and Baltimore County will receive reminders in the mail this week that their water bills will be larger than usual because of the ransomware attack that blocked the city’s public works department from generating bills. This file photo shows a sign on the front of the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, warning visitors that "SYSTEMS ARE DOWN."
Water customers in the city of Baltimore and Baltimore County will receive reminders in the mail this week that their water bills will be larger than usual because of the ransomware attack that blocked the city’s public works department from generating bills. This file photo shows a sign on the front of the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, warning visitors that "SYSTEMS ARE DOWN." (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Water customers in the city of Baltimore and Baltimore County will receive reminders in the mail this week that their water bills will be larger than usual because of a ransomware attack that has blocked the city’s public works department from generating bills, officials said Wednesday.

The cards will include information about how to reach the department’s customer service team with questions.

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The bills themselves are expected to start arriving in early August and will cover at least May, June and July. For some customers, they will also include charges for April. That would leave a typical household facing a $400 bill.

The water billing system is the last major IT system to be restored after May’s ransomware attack.

Officials have been urging customers to set money aside to pay their bills when they arrive.

Those people who may struggle with the larger than usual fee can enroll in the city’s payment plan programs, which offer the option to pay off their arrears over six or 12 months.

The cost of water and the burden it places on the poorest city residents has long been a contentious subject in Baltimore. The public works department says rate increases are necessary to pay for new infrastructure.

On Thursday, a City Council committee will consider amendments to legislation that would overhaul the way low-income families pay for water, capping the cost at a small portion of their incomes.

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