LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – Beauregard Water Authority is taking positive steps to correct high water bills for some customers who were negatively impacted when BWA began switching out meters with new electronic ones.
“I have been out here and tried a couple of different times to discuss it with them. I am told either pay my bill, or they will turn it off, or I can come to the board meeting and talk to them,” said Lake.
The problem began late last year, as the water authority began switching out old meters to electronic meters. It seems some meters were improperly installed, leading to leaks and high water bills.
“I have been out here and tried a couple of different times to discuss it with them. I am told either pay my bill, or they will turn it off, or I can come to the board meeting and talk to them. Well, my bill is $205, and it’s normally $35 a month, and it is due on the 11th. The board does not meet until the 26th of this month. What am I supposed to do? Go without water for two weeks or come up when an extra $170 to pay which I don’t have and very few people do.” questioned Lake.
Lake isn’t alone. Angela Ware and her husband experienced the same problem.
“Our meter was replaced in a standard way, we thought, and it had a leak. We got a bill for that month that was $240, our bills for 15 years is always around $40 a month. They said they would reduce our bill and our water would not be cut off until the adjustment happened. Well, our water was cut off. So we had to pay the bill plus a $50 additional fee to have it reconnected,” explained Ware.
Now, just a few days after News 3 shined a spotlight on their water woes, Ware and Lake tell News 3 Beauregard Water Authority doing the right thing by apologizing and crediting their accounts, saving them several hundred dollars.
“My situation has been, and I am very pleased with the outcome. I can’t thank you enough for your help,” Lake wrote to News 3.
Lee County Commissioners Robert Ham and Richard LaGrand were made aware of the issues shortly before the News 3 report ran. They got involved and are pleased to see the water system working with concerned customers.
“This is so important to our community, people are on fixed incomes and have to work paycheck to check. Commissioner Ham and myself and working to make it right,” said LaGrand.
Commissioner Robert Ham says he had a very productive conversation with concerned residents as well as with the chairman of the water system, Harry Lazenby.
“I have been working with Commissioner LaGrand and Harry Lazenby, the chairmen of the Beauregard Water authority system. He went out into the filed and looked at some of the meters being installed and also talked to some of the citizens. I’m glad to see he did this.
Ham is confident customers with leaks at their new water meter will be taken care of. Plus, Ham says the water authority is taking steps to handle future issues promptly.
“We are going to be talking about ways to expeditiously handle complaints fielded by the office, so maybe the people don’t have to come to the water board meeting their complaints can be handled quickly,” Ham said.
Commissioner Ham believes Beauregard has one of the best run rural water systems in the state, serving more than 35-hundred customers. Ham says there is always room for improvement and assures residents he will stay on top of the situation. So will News 3.