Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities

Charlotte, NC

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Consumer Complaints and Reviews

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Satisfaction Rating

I pay them $210 to have services restored and was assured that services would be restored within 24hrs. Instead, the next day, they left a note saying they were leaving the water turned off due to detecting water being turned on. I have two freaking kids at my house. It's not even funny how evil this is. Why not just turn my water on? I called and someone is supposed to return to my house to turn it on but nope... still not on.

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Why is it that a one person household on sewer only pays a monthly charge that is much higher than someone who has both water and sewer? I have asked the water dept. why and they say that it's a countrywide average. Really? Based on a family of four -- but I am only ONE! Doesn't matter. My bill (with stormwater runoff chgs., of course) is almost $60.00 per month -- of course the rate increases. They've had over the last few years was to make sure that with all the spending they're doing, they maintain their AAA bond rating so they can borrow more money and rate the rates again. Meck utilities are akin to loan sharks. The news media needs to start investigating "their financial affairs". Perhaps they can uncover the reasons why so many rate increases and unreasonable monthly rates are "needed".

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The City of Charlotte Water Utilities sent us a bill for $1636.03 for 16 days of service from July 27, 2015 to August 12, 2015. A breakdown of the water usage during that period follows:

• Household Usage: 30 Ccf x 748 = 22,440 approximate gallons, equates to $176.90 in costs. See City of Charlotte Water reference.

• Irrigation Usage: 153 Ccf x 748 = 114,444 approximate gallons, equates to $1296.02 in costs.

Does water in Mecklenburg County really cost more than a mortgage? This was our first bill in our newly constructed home built in 2015. It is 2,500 square feet and sits on a 1/3 of acre lot in Mint Hill, North Carolina. Two persons reside in our home. According to the bill, the household usage per day was 1,402 approximate gallons and the irrigation usage per day was 7,152 approximate gallons. It takes 7,600 approximate gallons of water to fill an above ground pool. We don't have a pool.

We first contacted our builder since the home was newly constructed. The builder checked for plumbing leaks and determined there were no leaks. Next, we contacted the City of Charlotte Water. A technician was sent to inspect our meter equipment on 9/1. The technician determined the meter equipment was not defective. However, he questioned the irrigation meters zero reading accuracy after noticing the irrigation systems watering the vacant homes nearby. He said it was not possible to have a zero reading if the builder had used the irrigation system to water the sod prior to us moving into our new home. He could not explain why the water usage had decreased by more than half for both the household and the irrigation for the period of 20 days from 8/13 to 9/1. Prior to that we did not have any indicators that we needed to decrease the water usage, since we received the bill dated August 23, at the end of August.

Considering all of these factors, the technician said we could not have used that amount of water in 16 days for the household or irrigation. He advised us to contact the builder again and ask them review their bills to determine if they had been billed correctly. It is unclear why the technician did not investigate the billing. We contacted our builder who contacted the City of Charlotte Water. The builder representative said, the City of Charlotte Water representative assured him they had billed them for water usage and said they have scheduled a supervisor to re-inspect the meter equipment in late September. It is unclear if the water usage billed was for household and irrigation.

Our second contact with the City of Charlotte Water was greeted by a representative with an elevated tone who did not acknowledge any of our concerns but had a lot to say about what we should do, did not do, never asking what had been done. She said, "That's your bill, that's your water usage, and it is not possible for the City of Charlotte Water to make a billing error." She also said what our builder should have done, did not do, again never asking what had been done. She then said she was going to send the supervisor out to re-inspect "but if he determines there is nothing wrong with the equipment, and he likely will, you will have to pay the bill."

Our third contact with the City of Charlotte Water was greeted by a representative with a pleasant tone who acknowledged our concerns though she insisted the bill could not be adjusted until the supervisor re-inspects the equipment and determine it was an equipment issue. She said the builder had not been billed for irrigation usage. The builder had used the irrigation system to water the newly installed sod for several days before the services were transferred into our name. Our fourth contact, on 9/29, with the City of Charlotte Water was greeted by the Field Supervisor Kevin. He laughed when he saw the water bill. He re-inspected the equipment and determined it was working properly. Kevin said the builder was responsible for the charges and requested the accounting department transfer the charges to the builder.

Our fifth contact with the City of Charlotte Water was on 10/7. I was told the charges would not be transferred to the builder since I asked for the service to be transferred to my name. They told me that I could setup a payment plan and that we should contact the builder if we believed they were responsible for the charges. I asked for that explanation in writing, and the representative stated Larry would email a response to me.

Based on the following facts alone, we can assure you the water usage billed by the City of Charlotte Water is not what we used in 16 days. Our reasons follow:

• According to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the average water usage for a person is 80 to 100 gallons per day. For two persons, the City of Charlotte Water billed 1,402 approximate gallons per day.
• Our builder’s landscaper set the schedule for our irrigation system. Using a worksheet on the City of Charlotte Water website to calculate “How Much Water Does My Irrigation System Use?”, we calculated the usage for our settings and the water usage does not add up to the amount billed.

• In the last five years consumer complaints and stories about high water bill have been featured on, Consumer Affairs, Local and National News.

Studies show the factors that generally determine household water usage are age of home, its size and the number of people that reside in home. Settings, number of zones, and watering frequency determine irrigation water usage. All of these factors were investigated and none of them have revealed a plausible explanation for the high water bill. No plumbing issues were discovered. Nor, has the City of Charlotte Water given a plausible explanation for the high water bill, and they have not agreed to look into issues, other than equipment failure. Despite this, we talked to several of our neighbors and determined the highest water bill one of them paid was $300. As a result, we made a $300 payment toward the balance.

In closing, we are grateful for the action our builder took to determine if their water bill was accurate. Minus the second representative's tone and failure to acknowledge our concerns, we are grateful the City of Charlotte Water sent technicians to investigate. However, we believe the action taken, thus far, has not been sufficient. In addition, the current bill shows a water usage decrease of more than 60 percent for both the household and irrigation.

We would like your assistance with determining if residential water really cost $92 a day in Mecklenburg County. Thanks.

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Satisfaction Rating

I called the Charmeck utilities and spoke with Jennifer about a 58-dollar charge added to my bill when my service had not been turned off. I have been laid off for over a year and paying bills is hard enough. I advised the young lady that my water had not been shut off. She said, "It didn't matter. If you're one day late, they can add the fee." Nowhere on the bill is that stated except for if service is terminated, you will have to pay all past due and the 58-dollar fee as well to have service restored. I asked to have the fee removed. She refused stating my bills had been late every month for over a year. As I told her, I lost my job that was the reason why. She still would not remove the fee. I think that is outrageous. I can see if my water was turned off that paying a fee to restore but not $58 for that either. All I want is what is fair. One day, you could be in my shoes with an additional 58 dollars I do not have and it is highway robbery to charge me that when my service was not turned off. Mayor Foxx and the city of Charlotte, shame on you! Please help me. Things are bad enough as they are for a lot of Charlotte residents.

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Satisfaction Rating

I am a senior on social security, still working PT to make ends meet. I lost one PT job 2 months ago and got behind on my water bill. They shut it off after I had sent a check for most of it in, but because they hadn't received it yet, I had to pay the full $150 over the phone. When I got my next bill, there was $58 delinquency fee on top of a late fee, so now I can't pay this bill on time either! I know there has been legislation limiting late fees, etc. by credit card companies, but, apparently, public utilities don't share the public's concerns over obscene fees and how that impacts low income citizens like myself. I have contacted the NC Utilities Commission and they told me to go back to City Hall, the source of the problem! So I contacted the Governor's Office and a very nice lady told me I could try and write a letter and the ombudsman might follow up. Bottom line ... the water dept. has a terrible reputation for incompetence, faulty equipment, lousy customer services and, of course, usurious late fees. Does anyone know how I can get someone to address this obscenity? Thank you.

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Our neighborhood consistently loses power in any storm, at a loss of groceries and time spent waiting for power. Duke Energy clearly needs to upgrade the equipment, but instead, ignores the situation. In 10 days, we've had 3 outages.

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After many months of family medical problems, which prohibited paying attention to this detail, I noticed that the "usage charges" for water and sewer added to the water bill has increased an average water bill of a 1-2 person household (I'm guestimating $25) by about 20%+. Obviously, this is yet another cleverly concealed tax. Presumably, this tax is yet another method to provide for the City Council to have several nice, elegant respite "conference" visits to Pinehurst Golf Resort such as the one we heard about recently on Channel 9 News. Those are probably designed (between holes on the golf course) to allow them to think up other ways to rob us. These changes and the new "caps" charges, in fact, lower the costs for anyone with large grounds with extensive irrigation systems to water their perfect lawns and fill their lovely swimming pools.

The abuse of the public has begun to reach absurd heights from DC down to the local levels. I wonder how long we are going to allow this before the people take a stand? And another note: Lucky, for now, for all those fortunate enough to have their own wells, but watch out! The "pilot" hydrofracking program introduced in Raleigh not too long ago to release trapped natural gas by pressure, injecting millions of gallons of tainted water into the shale deposits in NC and allows the gas companies to harvest more gas to overcharge us for. This process will, unfortunately, contaminate them very soon as anyone knows who has been checking behind this process out West, where people can literally hold a lighter to the water coming out of their spigots and ignite it.

Water will soon outstrip gasoline at cost per gallon if this is allowed to continue for the sake of oil companies and profit margins. So check your portfolios. Are you supporting this travesty of self-destruction for the sake of a few dividends? This ongoing rape of the earth and the common people is mind-boggling, infuriating and so very sad for mankind. And it's right here in Culver City, folks.

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Satisfaction Rating

Has anyone had any success with these crooks? My situation pretty much mirrors the others. $150/month bills from June '11-December '11. I had the situation reviewed by the city and a plumber. City said it was my fault, plumbers that it wasn’t from the city. They could not even find anything to repair (which they obviously would want to bill me for). This went on until 12/14/11-1/18/12, when my bill dropped to $23. Nothing changed in my usage, nothing was repaired. I live by myself and I am home about 18 days a month and do not water my lawn, have a pool, or do anything else to accrue a large water bill.

The wild card in this scenario is the repairs done by Heitkamp. I was notified at the end of November by Heitkamp that they would be doing repairs in my area. I had a temporary water line put in and the sewage smell that had been ongoing since I've lived here went away. This started in early December and is wrapping up now. Not coincidentally, this was when my water usage was reported accurately.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding litigation? Am I entitled to thrice damages? Am I entitled to be reimbursed for the 4 plumbers who came out?

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities' water is the worst service out here. Can someone fix it? They cut my water because I didn't pay and they never sent me a bill, never! What is that? And it has passed 4 days or more, and no one has come out to connect it. We need another water company in the City of Charlotte. I am getting tired of this **.

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Appealing abnormally high water bills. Requested further investigation. She said someone had been out once 3 months ago & looked at meter (which they did for a total of about 10 min). We content that something is gravely amiss with the functionality of equipment or execution of procedures with our water utility situation. Our bills for last 3 months have been 3 to 4 times the normal. We have had inspections & no leaks found. We cannot afford these bills & little recourse other than to perhaps move out of Mecklenburg. We're at wit's end & looking for an attorney that might at least prompt a further investigation of these business practices. As an aside, the CharMeck customer service was extremely rude & unprofessional. I wonder how they would react if they encountered similar frustrations?

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This is a complaint regarding overcharges made by the City of Charlotte Water Utilities. I received a water bill dated May 19, 2010 in the amount of $700.62. I called customer service on May 23, 2010. The water bill in question states from April 7, 2010 to May 6, 2010 for a 29-day period alleges I used 90,514 gallons of water. I advised the customer service rep that this has to be incorrect bill. I am single and reside alone. I do not have a pool (not even a pool in my neighborhood), no irrigation system, house is on a slab, do water my yard, do not wash my car at home, no standing water (confirm by City of Charlotte employee), no usage of water in four years at my residence. The City of Charlotte had a person to check my meter on May 27, 2010. The City of Charlotte water personnel, inspector Johnson left a note at my house stating high bill inspection results "Low-flow indicator running (blue dial on meter) may indicate private leak."

I called customer service and I ended up talking to customer service supervisor at 311 phone number. This supervisor who I feel was rude advised that the inspector opinion that I may have a leak on the private property and unwilling to change or compromise the water bill of $700.62. I complained to office of City of Charlotte Mayor Anthony ***'s office. I spoke to Peggy at Mayor *** office and advised their office had received complaints of high water bills and felt could assist me. Peggy referred me to Margaret *** for City of Charlotte Water Utilities. I talked to Ms. *** and there was a re-inspection of meter reading for home on July 8th. I was advised my average monthly water bill in the amount of $54. Ms. *** advised would put a hold on service to prevent from being turned while addressing my issues. Ask I pay $50 until this matter considered.

I made the payments in June and July of $50. I met Kevin *** at my home on July 8th and confirmed no standing water or an explanation of how I to use 90,514 gallon of water in 29 days. I was to hear from manager Sam *** at City of Charlotte and did not hear from him. I emailed Ms. *** at City of Charlotte on August 24, 2010 for a status. I received a call from Sam *** on August 27, 2010. I had a plumber inspect my home and a "small leak" discovered. The plumber stated his opinion that leak was very small and could possibly increase my water bill to double or $80-$90. States the small leak would not cause usage of 90,514 gallons in 29 days. Plumber states he has a swimming pool and which holds 10,000 gallons and took a few days to fill up the pool. Now image trying to use 90,514 gallons of water by residence with person, by a person who works an eight hour day away from home.

I talked to Sam *** a manage at City of Charlotte on August 27th and his inflexible position is that City of Charlotte would not correct or compromise their bill. Mr. *** basically reaffirmed the position taken by City of Charlotte supervisor in May. There are articles the Charlotte Observer newspaper, WCNC New Channel 36, WSOC TV 9, Davidson newspaper. These media articles reports report a large number of complaints in Charlotte by customers of high water bills. The reports indicate a mismatch between the mechanical water meter and the more error prone electronic transmitters that send water usage data for billing. This means the water meters may appear working, but the error prone electronic transmitters will allege you have used water not used. There have Charlotte city council meetings discussing the erroneous water bills.

As a matter of fact the City of Charlotte Water is to be conducting county wide audits of water meters. There are reported to be thousands of City of Charlotte in Mecklenburg where discovered problems in recording correct water usage. There are know issues in recording water usage and Mr. *** refuses to alter or compromise my high water bill. How can the entity I support by tax dollars consider any compromise with all the publicized issues with erroneous water bills in the county?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Company Profile

Company Name:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities
Website:
http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/Utilities/Pages/Home.aspx