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With $8M in aid, Augusta aims to fix flood of water utility woes

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Overcharging and double billing.

They’re just some of the complaints we’ve heard from many of you about your water bills.

The city of Augusta says changes are on the horizon with $8 million set aside to help fix water meters and billing issues.

We’ve heard from many of you about complaints with Augusta Utilities and water bills.

Marilyn Walker is just one of those people. On Thursday, she shared a statement of her water bill showing her due dates have changed and she’s being double-billed in one month. Many of you have said things need to improve in that department and that’s what the city is working to do.

If there’s one thing Walker is good about it’s being on time.

“I don’t like being late,” said Walker.

So when she saw an orange late notice on her front door, she knew something wasn’t right.

“I wondered what was going on and I called them and asked them: Why am I late? I just paid the bill,” she said.

After paying her monthly water bill, her due date was changed. She was sent another bill that same month.

“I can’t afford to pay them twice in one month, so I am going to end up being late,” she said.

Walker has heard from hundreds of others dealing with this for a while now.

“How long has this been going on for? Pshh. Let’s see. Probably a decade?” she said.

Now $8 million from the American Rescue Plan is going toward solving these issues.

“What the American Rescue Plan allows us to do is use those funds towards modernizing our meter readers,” said Augusta Commissioner Brandon Garrett, District 8.

The city is moving to electronic readers that will be able to read those meters in real-time, find leaks way faster, and help solve the billing issues for customers.

“Hopefully it will provide a much better service for our residence,” he said.

This won’t be an instant relief. The city says it will take around 56 weeks to get the hardware to make this happen. But people hope in the meantime their issues get washed away.

“It’s good if they can do something about it and make the meters more smart or more accurate or whatever,” he said.

Augusta Utilities says this is something that’s been discussed for around two or three years now. The American Rescue Plan allows the city to take action on this issue. This will help catch Augusta up with the industry standard.

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