Petersburg apologizes to residents after high water bills

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The city of Petersburg is officially apologizing to residents after months of extremely high water bills.

Some residents have complained about getting bills for hundreds of dollars during a one month billing cycle.

“I have been down here about five times,” says Nancy Brennan, who lives in Petersburg. “I’ve called all week, nobody responds to me. Now I am back in here again trying to find out what is going on with this water bill.”

Brennan’s average monthly bill is $40, but she’s gotten a bill that’s more than $260. Brennan was not the only one who visited the utilities office on Friday. There was a constant stream of frustrated residents who had questions about their bills.

“I am wondering why my bill is so high,” says June Cooper Jones. Cooper Jones’ bill is usually in the $90 range per month, but she recently received a bill that was more than $200. “I don’t need my water turned off, but if they don’t rectify it or change it, then I will have to pay it,” says Cooper Jones.

In the summer of 2014, the city did an overhaul and upgraded it’s entire water meter reading system. At the time, the city said the newer meters would be more accurate. Since the installation of the new system however, residents have been plagued with exorbitant water bills. On Friday, city leaders met with the contractors who installed the meters to enquire about issues with the bills.

“We haven’t quite figured out the root yet, but we are looking into that to make sure that we can get it fixed, because there is no reason for our citizens to have water bills that are at these rates,” says John Hart, who is the city council representative for the city’s 7th Ward.

Next week, the city also plans to release a letter of apology to residents who’ve received inaccurate water bills. City officials say the issues should be resolved within a month or two, until then, citizens should continue to point out bill discrepancies to the utilities office.

“Just bring your bills down here, talk with those who are in charge and they should be able to make the adjustments needed,” says council member Hart.

The number for the utility line is 804-733-2407.

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