H2 Oh No!: Mistakes made on water billing

Photo/Mark Zimmaro

Some city residents might be noticing their water bills are out of whack.

The Philadelphia Water Department announced that customers in 19 local ZIP codes, including three in South Philly, may receive water bills displaying inaccurate amounts following an error with data files.

Officials say it impacted roughly 3.5 percent of the approximately 480,000 accounts serviced.
 The issue was first discovered by the Water Department and Water Revenue Bureau on Aug. 4. Many of these bills resulted in charges that were significantly higher than customers’ routine monthly bills. Impacted customers were billed on Aug. 3 and bills with inaccurate balances appeared in customers’ e-billing accounts the next day. All impacted customers will have any billing errors reversed, and updated bills will be provided.

“We understand this has caused considerable distress and confusion for the impacted customers,” said Deputy Revenue Commissioner for Water Susan Crosby. “It is important customers know that we are working to resolve this as quickly as possible, and we have taken steps to ensure the incorrect bills will not impact those using automatic payment options. This will be resolved, and it will not impact what customers actually owe.”

South Philly ZIP codes 19145, 19146 and 19148 were among those affected. 
Officials said the issue is unrelated to meters that were recently upgraded. Any customers who receive paper bills with this error will also have the issue addressed and will receive an updated bill. 

“We take this issue extremely seriously and are working with our water use data provider to correct the problem as quickly as possible,” said Crosby. “We expect the process of correcting the bills to begin as early as Friday and we will continue to work until all issues are addressed.”

The Department of Revenue is reaching out to customers about this issue and explaining steps being taken to reach a resolution. It asks that residents wait for an updated bill before reaching out to the department. 
Customers who need to can request to speak to a billing representative at 215-685-6300 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Those who request a callback should have calls returned within 24 hours.