The Department of Watershed Management plans to refund a total of $7.5 million to 3,490 customers who used irrigation meters to limit their sewage bills and were erroneously overbilled. The council approved the measure unanimously. Watershed Management officials said stricter controls have been implemented to prevent such billing errors in the future.
“Returning these funds to the public is fantastic,” Shook said. “This council will watch for confirmation that the new controls prevent future billing errors.”
The enabling legislation refunds fees to water customers with irrigation meter usage exceeding 7ccfs/month that were incorrectly billed between July 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2010. The billing errors were revealed by Watershed Management officials.
“It is regrettable that this error in billing occurred,” Adrean said. “I am grateful that the city’s water customers will soon receive a corrective refund plus interest from Watershed.”
Full refunds will be issued plus 7 percent interest and any penalties (late fees) that affected customers may have incurred as a result of this occurrence. Checks will be mailed to affected customers no later than Nov. 26.
Although the billing error affected only 2 percent of all Atlanta water/sewer customers, data shows that 1,401 or slightly more than two-thirds of the Atlanta customers, who were affected, live in council Districts 7 and 8.
The total amount of District 7 and 8 refunds will be nearly $2.4 million with the remaining amount being refunded to other impacted city water customers.
Customers with questions about their irrigation meter account can call (404) 546-7363. Customers can check whether they are eligible for refunds at www.atlantawatershed.org/irrigation.