PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sky-high bills appeared in Philadelphia Water Department customers’ online accounts on Wednesday, in a case where technology went wrong.
Initially, the Water Department thought it was confined to Point Breeze in South Philadelphia, but has since learned the problem is much more widespread.READ MORE: Pennsylvania High Court OKs 'Comfort Dogs' For Witnesses
Water Department spokesman Brian Rademaekers said nearly 17,000 customers are affected across 19 ZIP codes.
People on a Point Breeze neighbors Facebook page began posting their wild bill amounts.
“Nine thousand, 10,000 and I think one person had a bill of 30,000 dollars,” said Liz Bradley, who checked the group after seeing her $2,800 bill.
Bradley frantically tried to put a stop to her autopayment.
“I got froze out for some reason and I wasn’t able to log on to stop my autopay,” she said. “I was really concerned that autopay would just go through, and take the money from my account.”
Fortunately, the department was able to stop any autopays from processing.
Some customers speculated that new water meters that were recently installed could be to blame for the erroneous bills.
Rademaekers told Eyewitness News the inaccurate bills stemmed from an issue with the billing files sent to the Water Revenue Bureau and that the department is working to correct the bills starting Friday.
Bradley said it’s unfortunate that less computer-savvy customers may still be unaware and will be shocked to get a big bill.
“I think the Water Department needs to be more proactive when they know that there’s a problem instead of waiting for the customers to find out,” she said.
Anyone who has received a massive bill is asked to call 215-685-6300 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for help to resolve it or email WRBHELPDESK@phila.gov
The affected ZIP Codes include:
19116READ MORE: Woman Killed After Shooting Inside Kensington Home, Police Say
19149MORE NEWS: Cars Towed, Scrapped In Wilmington Leads To Federal Lawsuit