BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After a multi-million dollar overhaul of its water billing and meter system, there are still complaints in Baltimore about unusually high water bills.
Some customers are getting bills for thousands of dollars, but the City is pledging to fix this. Complaints about high water bills in Baltimore have been streaming in for years.
So the City invested $140 million to install 400,000 new wireless meters, versus the manual ones that were prone to human error. This upgrade impacted 1.8 million customers.
The City also moved from quarterly to monthly bills, but there were still problems. The Baltimore Sun reported that one person received a bill for $80,000. DPW said glitches caused those errors.
“But recognize there is a lot more work to be done. This is a new system. There is a culture change for the customers. There are a lot of information at their finger tips,” said Rudolph Chow from the Department of Public Works.
The City activated the new water billing system in October and the issues have persisted since then.
“I don’t know that it’s accurate at all. When they replaced our water meter, they messed it up and it overflowed onto the sidewalk for like a week even though we kept on calling 311,” said Edye Sanford from Baltimore.
One Baltimore resident says water bills in the tens of thousands of dollars is “ridiculous.”
“I would certainly be on the phone,” she said.
The City says it’s hired more customer service reps and Mayor Catherine Pugh says she has faith in the new system.
“This is one of the few departments that I can tell you that is innovative and creative and have the technology that’s working,” said Mayor Pugh.
The mayor wants DPW to do more to inform the public of all the changes. Prior to the change, the water billing system was more than 30 years old.