‘I’m really frustrated’: Some residents shocked as utility bills double

Posted at 6:36 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 18:36:17-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Carol Adams has lived in her Battlefield Park home for about a decade, but she's just now learning there's a difference between her homes water meter and her neighbors.

City officials said that about 1,700 customers were paying a lower rate than they were actually supposed to and the increase in their bills is because those residents have a larger water meter.

Many residents are confused and didn’t know their water meter was any different than their neighbors.

And after seeing their bill double, they still don’t know if the size difference justifies the spike. The difference is between 5/8ths and one inch, but for Adams, the price is a $40 increase.

“Why would I have a meter different from anyone else,” Adams said.

"I'm going what does that have to do with water consumption,” she added. “So now my bill is 85 dollars a month when I was paying 45.”

City leaders confirmed that Adams isn't alone.

"There are approximately 1700 customers that received bills that [previously] had errors on them,” said Clay Hamner, Petersburg City Spokesperson.

Hamner said the rate difference affects water and wastewater.

The water cost breakdown is five-eighth inch customers pay $6.82 versus $17.06 for a one inch meter.

For wastewater, it's $15.47 versus $38. 66.

Those with one-inch meters will be getting a letter in the mail.

"The city is apologizing for having made the mistake but it was made by the previous administration but this one still has to deal with the outcome,” Hamner said.

Carol's neighbor John Sloan said he called in a plumber after his bill doubled. He was concerned he had a leak.

"I got a bill for 79 bucks for him to tell me, no you don't have a leak,” Sloan said. “I was kind of irritated with that but I realized it's just billing."

Adams wants to know when she got a one-inch meter; was it when the house was built-in the mid 60s or when meters were switched out a year ago -- answers she said no one at City Hall can give her.

"I'm really frustrated,” Adams said.