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ONLY ON 3: Customer says CFPUA trying to charge for disconnected line


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has had its share of problems since it started in 2008. Problems that won't seem to go away. One customer says she's being charged for a service she does not receive.

Stephanie Bell says she woke up Tuesday morning with a disconnect notice from the CFPUA, but the meter it was turning off has not been connected for years.

"He said he was here to disconnect, but there wasn't anything to disconnect because the water was already turned off," Bell said.

Bell began renting both sides of her duplex home about seven years ago, and had the water converted to one line for the entire house. She says the City of Wilmington disconnected the other hook-up years before the CFPUA even existed.

"We didn't have any problem," Bell said. "City of Wilmington wasn't an issue. Cape Fear Public (Utility) Authority takes over, and some time earlier this year, we started hearing something about, 'Oh, you owe money.'"

Now that CFPUA is responsible for the connection, Bell has received mixed messages about payment. She says she the authority told her she will be charged for the connection even if it's not working, because it is located on the property.

CFPUA CEO Matt Jordan said he couldn't specifically discuss her account, but he said Bell should call the Authority's customer service to fix her problem.

"That's something we pride ourself on is our customer service," Jordan said. "It's what we're there for, to assist anyone that has a question or a concern. We're here to help them resolve those."

But Bell has already done that, and when she did, she says customer service was not helpful.

"I was threatened at that point," she said. "I was told they could come and arrest me for damaging personal property, and I'm like, 'Hold on. Wait a minute. This wasn't even under your venue. It was under the City of Wilmington, and they had no problem, so what's the problem?'"

Bell plans to attend the CFPUA meeting tomorrow morning to further address her problems.

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