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City Desk

Rain, sleet, and snow can’t slow the U.S. Postal service, but anthrax did, and last month’s brief postal shutdown delayed thousands of pieces of District mail. When the Downtown Cluster of Congregations asked local utility companies to grant a 30-day grace period or repeat their billing cycles so that customers wouldn’t endure service interruptions because of late or undelivered bills, only PEPCO came through with no strings attached—waiving late fees and suspending service interruptions until this week. The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), according to Libby Lawson, WASA public affairs director, says that it will decide to hold off on assessing late charges and implementing service interruptions on a case-by-case basis, judging from the customer’s payment history and likelihood of anthrax-scare-delayed mail. Downtown Cluster Executive Director Terry Lynch says, “I was hoping other utilities would follow the lead of PEPCO.” —Rion A. Scott