Philly Water Department glitch bills some customers thousands of dollars

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — You may want to read over your next water bill.

The Philadelphia Water Department said some customers may have received bills with significantly high and inaccurate amounts — some reportedly in the thousands — due to a data error.

The department said it affected roughly 16,800 accounts in 19 ZIP codes:

19104
19111
19116
19120
19122
19123
19129
19132
19133
19138
19140
19141
19142
19144
19145
19146
19148
19149
19154

The problem is unrelated to recently upgraded meters, the city said.

Officials first noticed the issue on Wednesday. The department said any billing errors will be fixed and updated with the correct amounts, and it has taken measures to ensure customers who make automatic payments online will not be impacted.

"We've paused all auto-pay on those accounts, so no one is going to get their bank account messed up by these incorrect numbers," said spokesperson Brian Rademaekers. "We should start seeing corrected bills go out Friday through Monday."

Deputy Revenue Commissioner Susan Crosby said they have been able to correct the issue and “are in the process currently of reversing all of those erroneous bills.”

She said they are in the process of producing new bills and will be sending them out. She advises anyone who received a high bill to wait until they receive the new bill, but if they want to have their bill reviewed, they can always call the Water Department.

“We understand that receiving a bill of this magnitude is extremely shocking and disheartening,” Crosby added. “We are sorry and apologize for any impact this has on their lives.”

Customers can email wrbhelpdesk@phila.gov or call 215-685-6300 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Callbacks should be returned within 24 hours.