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Harrisburg residents battle huge water bills - abc27 WHTM

Harrisburg residents battle huge water bills

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Thousands of Harrisburg residents have been getting water bills in the thousands, and say they shouldn't have to pay the full amount.

That's because the city estimated their bills for the last year or more, and then slapped them with the difference.

Thorin Burgess says he didn't realize the city was estimating his bill for nine months from late 2012 until this summer. He says he pays the amount due in full each month, but in July he got a bill for $998.

"It's not very easy to get a past due balance of zero in anything around here, you know what I mean? It's hard to get a past due balance of zero and when you finally get one, you're feeling real good about it," he said. "It was zero, and went from zero to a thousand dollars -- just like that."

The Harrisburg Authority (THA), which now manages city water, says batteries are dying in water meters and are not being replaced, and that's why the bills were estimated for so long. Executive director Shannon Williams said THA will work over the next year to get new batteries installed.

"We're not able to forgive it -- the water was used and we do need to charge for that, but what we're doing is allowing a payment plan to be established," she said.

Williams said anyone with concerns over their bill can go to www.myharrisburgwater.com. She advised residents who need to get on a payment plan to do so as soon as possible because water rates will be increasing in January, though THA has not said by how much.

She also said if residents do not want to pay based on estimates they can contact THA for a reading, or record the numbers on their meter and make a payment based on that reading.

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