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County responds to erratic water bills

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SNOW HILL, N.C. -

Several people gettingtheir water from the Greene County Regional Water System are still scratchingtheir heads over bills that seem to be all over the place.

9 On Your Side spoke withcounty officials about the problem Monday. They didn't want to go on cameraabout the issues but did agree to a voice recorded interview.

In our meeting, we broughtto them two cases, Tracey Vick and James Edmonds Jr.  Both are neighbors and both saw their billsquadruple during the month of August.

"Nobody is using morewater than usual, not me. Not my family." Edmonds said.

Since Edmonds moved intohis home with his wife and two kids, they haven't used more than 3,200 gallonsof water. In August it jumped to 17,000.

The Greene County RegionalWater System says Edmonds has a leak or used the water himself.

"I can't tell youwhat happened to those 17,000 gallons. All I can tell you is that 17,000gallons went through that meter." Interim County Manager Richard Hicks said.

The average family of 4uses 5000-6000 gallons a month.

Public Works DirectorDavid Jones says it might be human error. Jones met with his employees after 9On Your Side placed several calls.

"The guys that werereading these meters are no longer with us. I talked to my staff." Jones said.

"You fired them?" ReporterAndrew Ruiz asked. "No they quit." Jones replied

"After me and you talkedon the phone, I questioned these meters and one guy that doesn't work with thewater department, who works with another division filled in and said yes I wentdown the road and read those two meters. So I know with the last three monthswith 99.9% accuracy that the meters were read for the last three months." Jonessaid.

Please contact us if you are also having issues. We will update you on this developing story.


Previous story

Tracey Vick normally uses about 4000 gallons of water a month. She gets it from the Greene County Regional Water System, but her most recent bill came back extremely high. She owes $95.47 for the 18,400 she allegedly used.

Her neighbor James EdmondsJr. is facing the same problem. So he called the county to see what was goingon. He was told that he likely had a leak.

So Edmonds spent severalhours looking for leaks and hasn't found one yet. His wife took their fight toFacebook and found out that others have the same problem. "They (GCRWS) saysmaybe there's a leak, but they told everybody that and nobody finds leaksanywhere." Ashley Edmonds said.

9 On Your Side wentsearching for answers.  We spoke to David Jones, the Public Works Directorover the phone. He wouldn't go on camera.

Jones said they don'thave enough man power to read the meters, one county employee easily readsabout 200-300 meters a day----which Jones says can lead to mistakes.

Jones says a mistakecaused Edmond's high bill. Edmonds now owes the utility company because he wasactually 'undercharged' in the past and has to play catch up.   

I questioned Jones aboutthe difference -- and the coincidence that both customers had such a dramaticincrease. He couldn't explain that. When my questions got harder he deferred meto the county manager.

Jones says he stands bythe bills. On Thursday he says he personally checked the meters inquestion and says everything is running correctly.

During our investigationwe also learned that Greene County does not check for irregularities beforetheir bills are sent out. Each month their employees read meters by hand andinput the readings into a device. That device then uploads the numbers to aserver that then bills the customer automatically.

Jones says it thecustomer's responsibility to report extremely low or high readings.

If are experiencing thesame problem, contact us. Complaints may also be filed with the North CarolinaUtilities Commission.      

Previous story

People living in Greene County got a surprising water bill.Some who contacted 9 On Your Side say their bills went up at least $60.

For instance, Tracey Vick received a bill stating she used18,400 gallons; her annual average is around 4,400. Vick lives off Herring Roadin Walstonburg. Her neighbor James Edmonds is experiencing the same issue. Lastmonth he used 2,800 gallons; the Greene County Regional Water System says heused 17,000 gallons this month.

So what is going on? We'll have the answers today on 9 OnYour Side at 5 and 6.

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