Midlands man seeks answers after water bill increases tenfold

Midlands man seeks answers after water bill increases tenfold

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Johnny Black has encountered several difficulties while building a new home, but he didn't expect his water bill would be one of them.

When he first opened his account with the City of Columbia last October, the bills were consistent.

After the city billed the wrong address, Black had a few payments to make up. Then, he had to wait for a credit when they overestimated one month's rate. But it was Black's most recent bill provided the biggest headache.

"Last month, I get a bill for $56," he said. "From $6.60 to $56 and nothing has changed."

Still under construction, Black said he only has one water source on the property.

"So, here it says your consumption's gone from one to 24," Black said. "and nothing…nothing's changed."

With just a few days to go until the next bill arrives, Black still has no answers.

"I've called the customer service," Black said. "Called the supervisor at customer service. She never returned the call. I called the City Manager's office. Never returned the call. Called the Mayor's office twice."

Despite all of those calls, Black still has no resolution.

"My concern is the indifference and lack of responsiveness from the city," Black said.

When asked about this scenario, City of Columbia Utilities Director Joey Jaco responded.

"If it is a situation where there's a high bill, our customer service will work with them on a particular bill," he said. "If they continuously call back because of a problem on the account side, we'll work with them but we can't do that every time."

City Manager Teresa Wilson told WIS on Monday the city will be reviewing its billing and collections system and it's in the process of scheduling review meetings open to water customers.

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