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ONLY ON 3: CFPUA customers getting big bills for old, missed charges

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: CFPUA customers getting big bills for old, missed charges
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is no stranger to billing issues. Now the authority has found unbilled utilities, which may mean some unexpected charges for customers.

In our down economy, there's no question that every dollar counts. What would you do if you received a bill from the CFPUA saying you owed close to $800 in unbilled expenses?"

That's the reality for at least one Wilmington resident. Suyapa Urbina says she has never missed a payment to the cape fear public utility authority. Last week though, Urbina got a letter from the authority saying she owed an additional $775.75 on her next bill for sewage expenses the CFPUA missed from August 13, 2009 to December 12, 2011.

"If they would have charged me at the time, it wouldn't have been a problem for me to pay," Urbina said. "But now I have to pay in full almost $800. That's not right."

Urbina's landlord, Larry Hunt, says she is the most reliable tenant he has ever had. He thinks the unbilled utilities are the authority's problem, and he says the CFPUA should be held accountable for its mistake.

"The utility company should have to bite the bullet every now and then for some errors they make," Hunt said. "It's just not right for the customer to be nailed with this stuff when they didn't do a thing wrong."

CFPUA says state statute allows it to back bill customers up to three years. During a recent data scrub it found more than $380,000 in unbilled expenses for 446 commercial and residential customers so far.

The CFPUA did reduce Urbina's charge to $640 and offered to put her on a payment plan, but it would not do away with the whole charge.

CFPUA spokeswoman Carey Ricks declined to go on camera for this story. She could not explain how the authority missed so much billing for so long.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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the Authority.

Is anyone really surprised, except the poor woman this happened to? I feel in these cases the Authority is way out of line. I cannot believe they have 3years to find these stupid mistakes!!! Then, bam - gotcha! Ridiculous.

CFPUA

Absolutely not! Rates have continued to increase as well as their payroll. They have people to read the meters and if customers were not properly billed, its not the fault of the customer. Its the fault of CFPUA and they should absorb the loss.

Uncharged utility bills

When folks write in and say, "they" should absorb it, what they're really saying is "we" who pay our bills should absorb it. Yes, its unfortunate that the billing was overlooked and delayed and yes, that does place an undo hardship on those affected; however, should those of us who pay into CFPU have to pay these shortages and effectively pay a larger share so those who don't or didn't pay are not liable? Think about CFPU's income and where its from... it's from us who pay their bills. If there is a shortage of money rates go up and everyone pays a little more. Were those affected thinking they were receiving utility service for free just because the utility company messed up and forgot to bill them? I believe they should pay what they owe, just as I do. I would agree that it would be fair to spread these payemnts out, but to not pay because a billing mistake was made?,,, that's not right adn fair to everyone else.

Dear Bob....

CFPUA is incompetent. They need to pay for THEIR OWN mistakes, just like the rest of us. Bad management (pay increases, etc.) and total disregard for those they are supposed to serve is why they are in this mess. I'm tired of paying for the mistakes of others. If they can prove someone DELIBERATELY did not pay them, that's fine. Otherwise, they need to EAT IT like other companys. It will teach them to be more careful in the future.

If you do not receive a

If you do not receive a utility bill, certainly you know something is wrong. However, if you get one which seems about correct, pay it, I feel you have done your part. If the utility messes up, that seems to be their problem. Another thought......are the past charges billed at the rate then, or the current rate? It would be possible for the utility to delibertly underbill customers only to bill them later at a higher rate. Boys and girls, can you spell "ripoff"?