Petersburg residents undercharged on water bills past 2 years

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — More than 1,700 water customers in Petersburg have been undercharged on their bills for two years. Now, the city could make them pay up.

Those residents could see the base rate they pay for water and wastewater more than double. And it’s all due to a mistake made at City Hall.

“I understand that the city is in a crunch and needs money, I understand that, but I don’t think it needs to be on the back of our citizens,” resident Beverley Coleman said.

It’s all due to a mix-up with the size of the water meter going into the home.

“There are two different prices for water meters,” city spokesperson Clay Hamner explained. “There is the 5/8th inch and then there is the 1 inch, and the 2 meters themselves cost different amounts because they deliver amounts of water.”

 

The problem is, some residents have been told to pay the cheaper rate for two years. Now, they’re finding out they should have been paying the higher rate all along, and the difference is more than double.

For a 5/8 inch meter, the base rate is $6.82. That goes up to $17.06 for the 1 inch meter. For wastewater, the rate jumps from $15.47 to $38.66.

“When the city instituted these new rates years ago, and it was approximately two, some were keyed in as 5/8th some were keyed in as 1 inch,” Hamner said. “”They should have been keyed in correctly, and it looks like some have been keyed in incorrectly.”

It will now be up to city council to decide if customers have to pay back all the money that they were supposed to be paying all along.

That vote will take place at city council’s next meeting on June 6th.

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