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Honolulu Board of Water Supply Discovers Billing Error

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Sep 22 2010 10:13:21 PM HST
Updated On: Sep 23 2010 06:01:13 AM HST
HONOLULU -

Peter Soriano thought his bill was unusually high because of the rate hike that began in July. The city raised water rates five percent and sewer rates 15 percent.

?I been here seven, eight years and I noticed a steady price in the water bill and then I noticed it just went up like fifty bucks,? said Pearl City resident Pete Soriano.

The father of two young children didn?t think his family had been using more water but he double checked his meter just in case.

?I checked everything for leaky faucets, bad water heater anything like that,? Soriano said.

He also leaned on his family to use try and use less water all around.

?Five minute showers, stuff like that. Don?t let it run, wash up in and out like that,? said Soriano.

It turns out the Honolulu Board of Water Supply discovered that it over-billed at least 50,000 customers from Aiea to Waianae. Usually customers are assessed a base sewer fee over a 60-day period, but the Board of Water Supply found that in some cases the bills covered a longer time so customers will see their bills vary.

?The range we are seeing is from two days to three weeks, so customers may pay anywhere form 8 cents, to maybe $58 more for the base sewer fee,? said Board of Water Supply spokeswoman Moani Wright-Van.

?We actually had this happen before but on a much smaller scale where we have been able to address it quickly, like one or two days. It has never happened to this extent before,? Wright-Van said.

She said during the period of the fee hikes when calculations are made daily there was also a delay in the meter reading. Officials said an unusual number of workers called in sick which compounded the problem.

Anyone who was overcharged will be credited on their next bill. Tbe Board of Water Supply regrets the error and is adjusting its software to ensure the readings are capped at 60 days.

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