PHILADELPHIA - Thousands of Philadelphia Water Department customers were shocked to see massive water bills — some were left with a bill as high as $30,000.
The issue was first discovered by the Water Department and Water Revenue Bureau on August 4. Many of these bills resulted in charges that were significantly higher than customers’ routine monthly bills.
"I was just trying to pay my bill last bill online and then I realized it was $9,000," Sy Beverly said.
She saw it when she logged on to the Philadelphia Water Department website for her monthly payment.
"Even if I let my water run for a month it would not be $9,000 even if it was my mortgage for eight months it would not be $9,000. I was like this is unbelievable," Beverly said.
It is safe to say that it caused some panic.
"I said this had to be a mistake I kept refreshing the page I logged out, I logged back in. I’m like this got to be a mistake. My bill has never been even over $100 so $9,000 I knew it was a mistake," she said.
Numbers like this were seen around Philadelphia, as the water department says over 18,000 customers were billed incorrectly.
"I said is this real?" Stephanie Vance said. "What if I was on automatic payment and they took $9,000 out of my account? Like I would have been upset."
The water department found out these astronomical bills were sent to customers and is currently working to fix it.
"It appears as though the bills were tripled possibly. We got an error in the file from our third party vendor and when we loaded that file into the system it caused a cascading failure so it just got worse and worse," Susan Crosby, deputy revenue commissioner in charge of the Water Revenue Bureau, said.
The issue is unrelated to meters that were recently upgraded. Customers with older meters are also impacted. Any customers who receive paper bills with this error will also have the issue addressed and will receive an updated bill.
"We take this issue extremely seriously and are working with our water use data provider to correct the problem as quickly as possible," said Crosby. "We expect the process of correcting the bills to begin as early as Friday and we will continue to work until all issues are addressed."
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