Copperas Cove: Residents pushing for answers about water bills

Published: Sep. 23, 2018 at 6:47 PM CDT
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Days after a decision was made to start an audit on the water billing system in Copperas Cove, residents are pushing for an answer.

Across social media, homeowners have tagged News 10 in search for help in addressing an apparent billing issue involving Fathom.

In 2016, the city contracted with Fathom to take over water billing. Shortly after, residents say, problems started to happen.

“We recently got a bill for $225 of water. Being that the family was on vacation in Mexico and I was in San Antonio -- so the house was virtually unoccupied,” Michael Nielsen said.

Residents say the billing issues have been non-stop with some homeowners spending hours without water because it was shut off.

“Between the hours of like 12 a.m. to 10 a.m., on the website it is showing that I’m using up to 15 gallons every hour persistently. It's not going up and down. Then on some days it's showing that for two hours there is no water usage,” Tina Verner said.

Terri Deans has been vocal in addressing her concerns. This week during the city council meeting, she didn't hold back.

"To the city council, I said no more Fathom. To Fathom, I say no more Fathom. We need justice for our city," she said.

Deans told News 10 that the water issues have affected some of her elderly neighbors.

City official say the audit will look at one percent of the accounts and audit in full detail, to include: billing, meter readings, adjustments, corrections, payments made or applied. The audit will cost $16,000 and will be covered by the city’s water and sewer fund.

Residents say they want a solution.

"Just listen to us. That's really all we are wanting. I really hope this audit that is coming out, I’m about 100 percent sure that this audit is going to come out and say something is wrong,” Verner added.

In a statement to News 10, Fathom says they have discussed the audit with officials from the city.

The statement reads:

"FATHOM has discussed the City’s request for an audit, we are supportive of this process, will fully cooperate and support any actions that document the execution of our utility billing services. We hope the process will continue to build trust in the City and FATHOM, we empathize with customers who are impacted by the rising cost of water and the efforts to more accurately measure water use."

The audit is expected to be completed by the end of November.