Artesian Water moves quickly to fix billing error
— As many as 900 Artesian Water customers in Port Deposit and west-
ern Elkton were accidentally overbilled, according to a spokesman for the utility.
Joseph DiNunzio, executive vice president and secretary of the Newark, Del.-based company, said Monday that bills started going out Wednesday charging customers more for the base amount of water usage.
“It was a very silly thing. We shifted a meter reading by two weeks and (the system) automatically created a proration,” DiNunzio said, noting the error added $8.81 to the quarterly bill.
A Cecil County resident himself, DiNunzio said it was a neighbor who noticed the errant base rate Wednesday evening and brought it to his attention.
“He got his bill electronically and checked it right away,” DiNunzio said, adding he also began looking into what happened.
Customers using the least possible amount of water were who got the erroneous bills via email Wednesday, and in the mail by the weekend.
Letters went out immediately, he added. Dated April 8, the letter — obtained by the Whig from Port Deposit town hall — explains that an error in billing for the minimum charge of 10,000 gallons of water created the mistaken calculation.
Those who have already paid the bill will get a credit in the next quarterly billing cycle, the letter explains.
“If they have not, they should deduct $8.81 from their bill,” DiNunzio said.
Artesian purchased Port Deposit’s water system in 2010 for $1.26 million. The town also turned its wastewater treatment operation over to Cecil County in 2009. That’s the same year that Artesian became the county’s franchisee for water service in the western Elkton area.
DiNunzio said he understands how the error was overlooked in the billing office. The utility’s Delaware customers are billed monthly and there’s no base minimum usage. Nothing caught the eye of the staff printing the bills, he said.
He added that Artesian hopes in the future to move to monthly billing for its Cecil County customers too.