Local News

'32,000 gallons for one month': Harnett County residents frustrated with wrong water bills

Posted August 12, 2019 11:13 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2019 4:49 a.m. EDT

— Harnett County residents had a chance to sound off on Monday night after receiving higher-than-normal water bills, some as high as $49,000.

Assistant Director Glenn McFadden said the high water bills boil down to an employee not doing their job correctly. As a result, the county will waive 50 percent off of the next water bill.

Some customers, including Alisha Smith, said they'd hope there was a better solution.

"Just for June it went up like $30, but for July, it went up to like $70-$80 more than we usually pay," she said.

Zachary Baker said his bill also increased.

"It went up from $45 to $180," he said.

Baker said his family uses about 5,000 gallons of water a month.

"My bill was 32,000 gallons for one month," he said.

Baker was forced to pay.

Another man shared his bill with WRAL, claiming he owed nearly $50,000 for using 9 million gallons of water.

Harnett Regional Water officials planned a last-minute meeting on Monday evening in response to the dozens of frustrated customers. The assistant director said the employee responsible for inaccurate readings had been on the job less than a year.

Now, they plan on waiving half the bill for affected customers.

"If my consumption is 32,000 gallons, that equates to 16,000 gallons I'm getting billed for the month prior and I only used 8,000. So, I'm getting billed for 8,000 gallons more than what my consumption is," Baker said.

Affected water customers are now keeping a closer eye on the next bill.

"I'm going home right now to check the meter," Baker said.

The man who had the $49,000 bill said the Harnett Regional Water adjusted it to $102.

In total, Harnett Regional Water has adjusted 150 bills. County reps said the bills for the next cycle should be back to normal.