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Delray Beach residents receive $600 water bills after city identifies 'zero consumption accounts'

'That's not our error, that's the city of Delray Beach's error,' resident says
Posted at 1:07 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 18:29:04-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach residents Maura Hopkins and her neighbor Ron Godfrey said they were stunned to learn that the city didn't charge them for water consumption from November 2018 until July 2020.

"That's a long time for somebody to now notice," Hopkins said.

"They shouldn't be able to go back two years and charge you retroactively," Godfrey said.

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Now, the city wants its money.

"They send you a bill for $626 with no explanation, zero," Godfrey said.

Hopkins said her bill was $659.

"We should have a billing system that is accurate and timely," she said.

Delray Beach resident Maura Hopkins
"Why should we have to pay for it? That's not our error," said Delray Beach resident Maura Hopkins

Contact 5 reached out to the city of Delray Beach to ask what happened.

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A city spokesperson told Contact 5 that a new, more robust meter-reading software system identified approximately 65 "zero consumption accounts" that had actual consumption captured by the meter, but the information "had not gotten back to the system."

That means customers like Hopkins and Godfrey only paid the base rate during that window of time, "but no actual usage," according to the spokesperson.

"I think there needs to be an investigation into it, and I would like to see a credit," Godfrey said.

"If somebody is not watching and making sure the billing is correct, why should we have to pay for it? That's not our error, that's the city of Delray Beach's error," Hopkins said.

The city says it's "unable to forgive monies due" but will work with customers to set up a payment plan.

Contact 5 is working to determine how much is owed to the city from the 65 accounts that showed zero consumption.