Troubleshooters: Drowning in more water bill problems
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Julie Little used to pay about $50 every other month for sewer, based on the gallons of water she used at her house.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority recently made some changes, and went to a flat rate system of $82.50 per household for sewer service. "I think it's kind of a gimmick to get more money out of people, because some people are just saying the heck with it, and paying the $82.50," said Little.

When Julie's neighborhood off Cathay Road was built, county water was not an option, so a private company called Aqua built the water system. Until recently, Aqua read the customers meters to put together water bills, and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority did their own, separate meter readings for the sewer bills, but not anymore.

"When Aqua asked us not to read their meters, we obliged, and switched all our customers to the flat rate," described CFPUA customer service director Martha Zeigler. Aqua tells WWAY there were liability concerns with outside agencies like the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority reading their water meters, so they put a stop to it.

CFPUA customers can still qualify for a sewer rate based on usage, but to qualify they have to fill out an application, then show proof of their water usage.

Sally Farias is also upset about her sewer bill. "In order to keep your meter read, not the flat rate, you had to fax in your water bill every month, which to me, I don't have time for that," she said.

The good news is, this is only temporary. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is working with Aqua to come up with a list of customers they have in common. Once that happens, Aqua will start sending the CFPUA a list of meter readings each month, so that the agency can calculate sewer bills without customers having to mail in any information.

"We realize that customers are upset about the change, but we're trying to work with the customers to come up with a solution,” said Zeigler.

“while we are currently working with Aqua to get these meter readings in automatically." The agencies hope to have this worked out in the next couple of months. In the meantime, save your water bills. If you missed the July deadline for getting the metered rate, you'll have another chance to apply in December, and the utility authority will credit you for all the bills you've saved since the changes went into effect.

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Fax?......Fax?......What is a fax?........Oh yeah I remember, faxes were the way the ancient civilizations back in the 70's used to transmit documents. Did some archeologists dig one up somewhere around here?
And these people make how much to run these companys?? How can a buisness , that oversees our public utilities, start up and operate without a useful and proven method in place? Is this the first utilities company in the history of america to go into buisness?? One would think research would be done concerning other utility companys and utilize a proven sysytem on how to proprly read and bill its customers. But they want its customers to stand by and pay for THEIR lack of knowledge, how pathetic!!!
Sally Farias said: "In order to keep your meter read, not the flat rate, you had to fax in your water bill every month, which to me, I don't have time for that." Sally... newsflash... it takes 10 seconds to fax something. Anything. 10 lousy seconds. NO ONE is so busy that they can't spend 10 seconds a month faxing a document.
When did it start becoming the consumers mresponsibility to provide and pay for the service. You pay these people to do a job and render a service. They need to provide what they are paid to do. Period.
many companies ASSUME that the public has a home fax machine. WRONG. i have worked in customer service call centers for over 20yrs and can tell you most people don't. most have computers and maybe a printer but a fax? not as likely. the customer in question probably does not have a home fax and/or a job that would allow easy access to the fax machine. this means she would have to go out of her way to drive to a postal type store every month. i can see how this would be inconvienent.
If she doesn't have a fax machine and has to go to one of the postal service stores she needs to decide if the cost savings are worth the time to make that trip. Most new printers also scan in originals and then you can fax from your computer. It really isn't that hard.
I think you missed the point..overpaying was the story- you go ahead and pay more than you should- oh and you can pay mine while you are at it
Oh no, I understand that only in government do the incompetent not only survive, but they thrive. My point is that it really isn't a big hardship to send a fax. I wonder if all the overcharging isn't to pay down on all the new vehicles CFPUA bought??
i just spoke with a good friend who had to go to staples last night to fax a document. she has NO fax at home although she has a computer. she said it cost her $4.95 to fax one page. this is alot of money.............!
Bestbuy.com lists 6 fax machines for under $100. They even have one for only $56. If she has to fax that often, just go buy one. Then she won't have to go to the store. It still isn't that hard.