BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The first round of city water bills are now delivered, and the promise of sticker shock hit many customers.

Officials have been warning of high bills after the city’s ransomware attack, which crippled city systems including the ability to issue water bills online for three months.

And now, customers are seeing bills for four months of usage.

“It says, ‘Previous balance: $91.80,”

City water customer Tracy Anderson showed WJZ his bill.

“Current charges: $1,012.63,” Anderson added.

A thousand dollar water bill, already expected to be high from the delay in billing near tripled the monthly average.

“If it had been $400, $450, I’d probably just paid it. Going on my merry way. But, this is $1,000.” He said.

City officials warned customers to expect high bills and urged budgeting for when they would arrive.

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Anderson’s bill showed he used 64,000 gallons in four months.

“Or, 527 gallons a day. That’s a lot of friggin’ water,” Anderson said.

He added Public Works told him he might have a leak.

“I’m a working stiff. I work for a living just like everybody else, so I don’t have $1,000 to throw out a water bill,” Anderson said.

Baltimore City will be waiving late fees and offering payment plans- as they did with Anderson.

DPW recommends you call their customer service line if your bill is high. People can also review their usage online on the Customer Service Portal, as recently as the day before.

“She didn’t do anything about the bill, but she did give me some steps to take to figure it out, ‘Do I have a leak somewhere that’s causing me to use 527 gallons of water a day?” Anderson said.

And his high bill is not alone, if you want to show WJZ your water bill, go to WJZ’s Facebook page and send us a picture.

Paul Gessler

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