Water Bills Still Not Adding Up For Some Residents - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Water Bills Still Not Adding Up For Some Residents

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Augusta, GA -

More of you are coming forward with complaints about your water and sewer bills. Earlier this week, we told you how some people say their bills have doubled and tripled, which doesn't make sense to them.

One homeowner we spoke with says there is no way his water meter is being read because it's been covered with dirt for months.

"We had plenty of rain. I haven't watered my plants. I haven't watered my grass. And you know, nobody has been here. So how do I get a $70 bill when there is no consumption," Tony Gentry says.

Gentry has plenty of questions about the city's rate structure for water and sewage. Before living in Augusta, Gentry lived in Atlanta... and he says his water bills were cheaper there. Earlier this week, we asked the director of Augusta Utilities about the rate structure. This is what he had to say.

"Our minimum bill is $40.15 for three thousand gallons or less. If you go to four thousand gallons it jumps to $59," Tom Wiedmeier says.

Wiedmeier says that 50% jump has been in effect since the early 2000's. The rate structure seems to be confusing a lot of people in Augusta, including Gentry, who says Augusta Utilities should charge a flat rate.

"I don't understand. I mean, if he is saying it's like an odometer on your car, okay, when you reach 100 thousand miles, do you have to pay extra, just because you went above 100 thousand miles? That doesn't make sense," Gentry says.

To add more to Gentry's woes about his water bill, he says he believes his water meter hasn't been read for a very long time.

"How can you read a dial when you can't see the dial?" he says.

While we were interviewing him, Gentry dug up several inches of dirt on top of his water meter, which he says is an older model, not a newer one that can be read wirelessly.

"What this here is telling me is that they don't read my meter. They have to be guessing. Or they keep going with the last year's estimates," Gentry says.

But Wiedmeier says the meters are read once a month. He says this isn't the first time he has heard rumors about meters not being read.

"No, we can't manipulate that. I mean, the meter reads what the meter reads," Wiedmeier says.

Commissioner Marion Williams tells us he has received several complaints about high water bills. He even says his church's water bill doubled, which he says doesn't make sense. He is asking Wiedmeier to take a closer look at the Church's bill.

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