Billing problem forces review of thousands of Oahu water billsUPDATED 8:10 PM HST Jun 25, 2013Video Transcript
exclusive-- Water woes. Have you been paying too much... or maybe not not enough? Thousands of Oahu customers may be in line to have their water bills RE-CALCULATED. KITV's Catherine Cruz joins us with more on what went wrong. Catherine? The Board of Water Supply will begin sending out letters to affected customers later this week. It has to do with an unusually large number of bills that were sent out that were based on estimated-- versus-- actual water use. Every day a small army of 14 meter readers--hits the road. Some like Keith Chinen, can read your water meter in a drive-by. - keith 1 :11 - 1:17 -"All the ones that have turned red are the onesI have readings for all these green ones are the ones that we have to go and read ." He reads about 4 thousand meters a day. Addresses that are programmed into his laptop. - keith 4:51- 5:11 "After we do the reading we load it into the computer will tell us which ones that didn't work and we will have to take those who didnt work and put them into followup routs and those guys will go out and manually go out to get the readings," Battery operated devices like this located underground allow meter readers to read the signal remotely. But failing batteries forced the agency to turn to a mass replacement program earlier this year. Staffing issues COMPOUNDED the problem. The department responsible for reviewing the readings is short-handed... So when there's nobody available to sign off on the readings, a computer ESTIMATES your water use. In May... Roughly 26- thousand customers received estimated bills. That's 16-percent of the customers.. Something the chief engineer is NOT happy about. - Ernie 1922 - 19:43 - "It's definately more than I would like. And I would like to apologize you an estimated bill either you will have to pay more money sometimes a large amount of money or you have been overpaying and are due a refund from the Board of Water Supply." One Kailua family was shocked to receive an estimated bill for almost 2 thousand dollars. The previous bills fluctuated wildly, and they couldn't figure out why. Earlier this month this Waipio man was so bothered by his high bills, he took to reading and documenting his actual water usage for almost two months. - Dans tape 4:52 - "I read it every day at 7.p.m." Lau acknowleded there are customers who received estimated bills in some cases for up to five months. Lau says he has redeployed staff to start reviewing the bills of the affected customers. - Ernie 23:58-24:04 -"I think right now we are at a place with these 26 thosuand estimated bills that we dont want to be here ever again." Lau says it could take a couple of billing cycles before the adjustments are made. Currently only about 2% of the water bills are estimated because of a problem reading the meter. If you think you may have a problem on your bill, you should notify the Board of Water Supply. But take note, it has been dealing with thousands of calls a day. You can always e- mail too, Back to you Yunji? Kenny?