Faulty water meters lead to utility back-billing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Faulty water meters lead to utility back-billing

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More than 100 Guam residents will receive a disproportionately higher water bill this month, thanks to faulty water meters that were replaced last year.

The first wave of back bills will be received by local ratepayers this month. Backbilling by the Guam Waterworks Authority is due to faulty water meters that under-registered water consumption in 2015. According to GWA spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf, 7,000 accounts are being evaluated to determine if water meters replaced for those accounts from April 2015 to December 2015 were malfunctioning.

"Keep in mind of the 7,000 accounts, not everyone will receive a back bill - it's only after the finance department reviews each account and determines should it be back billed," she said. "So right now we've reviewed about 954 accounts, and we've back billed of those 954, it was determined 113 would be back billed."

She said as part of a federal court order, GWA has been replacing faulty meters with new badger meters since 2012. The new meters have a less than 2% failure rate. "So that's what we did last year and then by law we're allowed to back bill up to four months only," she explained.

So far, only 11% of the reviewed accounts have required additional billing, the average of which is $250. However, the amount owed could be more for commercial businesses. She said GWA hopes to complete the evaluation of the remaining 6,000 accounts in the next month.

Ballendorf continued, "It's very rare that people will come in and say hey, my water bill was too low this month, but we really do need to know that if you have a water bill that's typically a certain amount and then all of a sudden, and you did all the same things you always did , and then all of a sudden it went from $100 to $20, there's a chance there's something wrong with your meter and we need to get right on that."

If you do receive a back bill, payment plans are available. For more information you can call 647-7800 or email customers@guamwaterworks.org.

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