Spartanburg County residents, check your water bill!

Published 10:28 pm Sunday, August 18, 2019

Anomaly in system is overcharging Spartanburg Water customers 


LANDRUM—Some Spartanburg County residents have been experiencing unusually high water bills in recent months.

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Tammy Swain, owner of Main Street Salon in Landrum, brought her unusually high water bill to the Landrum City Council on Tuesday, August 13.


During the public comments section of the city meeting Swain said, “I want to bring awareness (Spartanburg Water overcharging for water usage) to having been overcharged for water in June. Several other Downtown Landrum Businesses and City buildings have had unusually high water usage and bills.” 


Swain has already filed formal complaints disputing the charges with Spartanburg County water. Swain said that her normal monthly water bill for the store is around $40 per month. In June she received a bill in excess of $280. Swain has been experiencing irregular water usage and charges for the last seven months in the store.


City Administrator Rich Caplan said that the City has experienced that same problem. Brookwood Park was affected by the anomaly, the park typically costs around $40 a month in water usage to operate the bathrooms and water fountains. 


Over the summer, Caplan said the City received a water bill for over $1,000 just for the park, stating that an incredibly high volume of water was used over the course of the month. Caplan contacted Spartanburg Water and they told him it was impossible for the park to have used that much water over the month, even if both bathrooms and the water fountains ran constantly. 


Caplan said that Spartanburg Water is aware of the problem with their system and has been working to correct it. Spartanburg Water uses meters that can be checked remotely, similar to the way Duke Power checks electric usage. The system has the ability to check the exact day and time that the water is being used at a location. It is believed that the system itself has a bug that is sometimes over charging customers because it incorrectly reads how much water is being used.  


The ability to check the date and time of usage is what lead Swain to bring the issue to the City’s attention. Main Street Salon is not open on Sunday’s and Spartanburg Water had listed on one of her previous bills the day with the highest water usage was on a Sunday, when her business was closed. 


Landrum resident Carol Browning said that she had experienced that same issue several months prior, having paid an unusually high water bill, but that her account was recently credited with money towards her upcoming bill. 


Landrum Mayor Briggs said, “If you know of anyone or you yourself have had an anomaly, Spartanburg Water is looking at those identified. They think it may be a problem in their software.” 


Mayor Briggs suggest that residents pay closer attention to their water bills in the upcoming months, and that they should go back and check the past couple of months to see if their was an unexpected increase in their bill. Both the Mayor and City Administrator stated that Spartanburg Water is processing the complaints first then addressing the other issues in the system and encouraged residents to contact Spartanburg Water if they have a discrepancy with a bill. 


Caplan said that he was glad to hear that they corrected Mrs. Browning’s bill by giving her a credit, he said that it means they (Spartanburg Water) are aware of the problem and are actively working to correct the situation.