City recalling 'erroneous' $50K water bills - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 9, 2018 8:23 am

City recalling ‘erroneous’ $50K water bills

Baltimore's Department of Public Works said issues with a software update were behind the error.

More than 500 erroneous water bills went out this week.

(Photo by Flickr user Steve Johnson, used under a Creative Commons license)

More than 500 Baltimore residents received “erroneous” water bills this week due to an issue with a software update.

According to the city’s Department of Public Works, many of the water bills were for more than $50,000.

The bills were issued following an update that was installed over the weekend. The DPW said it came “despite extensive testing.” It was discovered on Wednesday, and the department stopped issuing bills at that time. It also began reaching out to the customers affected, letting them know that the bills were erroneous.

“This is not acceptable, and I am insisting we strengthen our billing safeguards,” said DPW Director Rudolph Chow said in a statement. “I have directed staff to send letters to all those customers affected by this error, and to make direct contact in every case possible.”

The staff are also making corrections to the bills, and letting them know that it will not affect their accounts.

“I apologize to these customers for the erroneous bills and want everyone to know I take the credibility of our metering and billing system very seriously. Our customers deserve nothing less,” Chow said.

Along with introducing new “smart” meters, the city recently switched to a new water billing system that charges based on actual consumption, rather than estimated use. Customers reported high bills more than a year ago, and the DPW said that was also due to software issues. This appears to be a more isolated case, however.

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