COBB COUNTY, Ga — Homeowners in Mableton want to know why they are being charged so much for water.
Channel 2′s Cobb County bureau chief Michele Newell was in Mableton on Tuesday, where homeowners say they are looking for answers.
Cobb County admitted that a now-fired meter reader was turning in bad readings, causing bills to be much lower than they should have been.
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Cobb County officials say that a now-fired meter reader was turning in bad readings, causing bills to be much lower than they should have been. The former employee worked for Bermex, a company Cobb County uses as a contractor for meter readers.
After the county learned about what happened, they checked the meters and made sure they were accurate.They also gave tier adjustments to homeowners that were impacted.
“It was $65, and it jumped to $186,” Mableton homeowner Robin Ford said.
“It jumped to $227,” Kate Murray said.
That’s not much compared to water bills that other homeowners say they received from the Cobb County water system, in August.
One person saw their bill jump from $41 in July to $1300 in August.
“There’s seniors here on fixed incomes. We have young families that are here. It’s a real burden,” homeowner Valerie Misa said.
Cobb County officials say that since late July, all the under-read meters have accurately been read.
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They say about 25 out of the 150 customers affected received one very high catch-up bill after a couple of months of low water bills.
Bermex fired the employee who was responsible and sent a letter to the neighbors, explaining what happened.
“Bermex in a letter is admitting that they had a dishonest meter reader, and yet they are not willing to take responsibility,” Ford said.
The county says it issued water-tier adjustments to ease some of the pain.
“We understand the frustration of suddenly getting a much larger bill than their use to, and that again is due to the low meter readings that they previously got and the fact that we bill on this tier system so the bill they initially get will look a lot bigger than they’ve ever seen before,” said Ross Cavitt, communications director for Cobb County.
Cobb County says residents should contact the county’s water system department if they have an unusually high water bill.
The county is in the process of implementing a new water meter reading system. It will require readers to take a physical picture of a meter, and it can also geo-track their movements.
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