City owes resident more than $1000 in water bill overcharges

Posted at 1:23 AM, Nov 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-14 01:23:38-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- When your monthly water bill comes in, imagine it being more than the usual trickle.

That was the reality for Richmond resident, Ashley Anderson.  Her water bills were averaging $400 dollars a month.

Anderson said that plumbers checked for leaks, and crews even inspected her water meter. She said she called City Hall multiple times to inform them of the problem.

However, Anderson says she was told nothing was wrong and she owed what was on the bills. “I knew I was right. I knew there was something wrong and I was just being ignored,” says Anderson.

To put it into perspective, Anderson’s bills indicated her family of three was using an average of 24,000 gallons of water a month. The average for a family of four is just 6,000 gallons per month.

After our initial interview with Anderson in late October, crews went back to her home and found that her meter was not reading their usage properly. The city now owes her more than $1000 in credit for over charges.

Anderson contacted us after CBS 6 told you about another Richmond woman, living in a quaint apartment. Her bills were close to $200 a month. The city now owes her more than $1000 as well. She’s just one of many people who emailed us complaining about erroneous water bills.

We contacted Angela Fountain with the city's department of public utilities. She sent us a statement saying:

“The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities renders approximately 99 percent of its bills based upon an actual meter reading.Meter readings are reviewed for unusual fluctuations, either high or low, against the customer’s established consumption history. If consumption from a meter reading is outside of these high/low parameters, the City investigates the meter reading with a site visit to the meter.  If a customer feels that their usage does not reflect their consumption, they are encouraged to call the city of Richmond immediately. All customer concerns are addressed and resolved as quickly as possible.”