In July, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority was created to combine water and sewer services in Wilmington, and New Hanover County. Since then we have been reporting on computer problems, which lead to many people still not having received a bill and wondering how they are going to afford the bill when they do get one. Jim Giuffre said he has not received a water or sewer bill in 5 months. Now he is worried if he and others will be prepared when the bill eventually arrives. “The new bill that's going to be coming out is going to be sewer water, trash and storm water all on one bill, so when that bill comes out it's going to be enormous and I don't know if people are budgeting for it in this economy,” Giuffre said. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority's billing system is based on a tiered model. The more water you use, the more you will pay per thousand gallons. This new guideline has Mr. Giuffre concerned. “I'm not sure what I'm going to be charged per thousand gallons. Am I going to be at the high rate, low rate," said Giuffre. To address this concern, the CFPUA implemented a 70-day cap, meaning a customer will only be charged for 70 days worth of service on one bill, and will pay based on the billing tier that 70-day usage puts them in. After a few billing cycles things should even out, but Giuffre is not convinced. “Every time you call you're assured you'll get your bill next month, next month, next month so now they sent out a letter Friday saying they hope to have the problem fixed by the end of October,” Guiffre said. About 50 percent of homeowners should have already received their bills. The CFPUA hopes everyone else has them by the end of October. Until these billing issues are straightened out, no one will be charged late fees, or have their service shut-off. The CFPUA sent out some bills before the 70-day cap was put into place. Officials say even though you may have ended up in a higher tier this time around, things should even out down the road. If you still have questions or concerns, you can call customer service at 910-332-6550.
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