After being overcharged more than a year ago, thousands of water customers in New Castle County will finally receive a refund. But many are not satisfied with the payback plan which could prove to be a huge inconvenience during the holiday shopping season.
The Artesian Water Company, which serves New Castle County, Delaware switched from quarterly to monthly billing. During the switch however, they failed to update their billing formula which includes sewer charges that are based on home water usage. As a result, around 21,000 customers were overcharged nearly $700,000 total on their sewer bills.
Tony Prado, the New Castle County Director of Communications, says the refunds for the customers will vary from $5 to $100.
“We’re looking forward to bringing this to a closure,” Prado said. “As I’m sure our customers are.”
But many customers aren’t happy with how they’ll receive the refund. Instead of a cash or check, the refund will come as credit on their next sewer bill. Many customers, including Anne Roseboom, a retired postal worker on a fixed income, are outraged.
“I feel like the people of New Castle County have been lied to,” she said.
“It’s frustrating that they can overcharge you and then try to credit our bill instead of giving your money back,” said Brian Goodyear, another customer. “If they made a mistake they should give you your money back.”
When asked why they aren’t giving people a straight refund, Prado said it would “actually cost more to cut checks and send those to people.” Prado also admits that the mistake could’ve been corrected “more quickly.”
Roseboom isn’t satisfied by his answer.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing,” she said. “These words don’t mean nothing. I want to see action.”
For now however, Roseboom and thousands of others will have to settle with the current refund plan.
To find out if you’ll be getting a refund, log onto the New Castle County website on Wednesday.