Customers frustrated with new water service in Copperas Cove

Posted at 4:29 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:19:56-04

From multiple bills in one month to no bills at all or even meter readings of thousands of gallons used in one day, Copperas Cove residents have just about had it with the city's new water service, and now they want answers and action. 

"In November of last year, they had these new meters put in, and my bill jumped to $160, $120. I did have one over $200... just for two people. I think it's a little excessive," said Copperas Cove resident Astrid Burgener. 

Since the City of Copperas Cove has partnered with Fathom to assist in their Utility Department, residents have been taking to social media and town meetings to express their frustration.

"They introduced us to this new graphic where you can see how much water you use daily, which I have been checking out, and it's not accurate," Bergener added.  

"I always knew what my bill was going to be," said another customer Paula Bigford. "I never had to go down and question them about it." 

So whether it be billing issues or meter readings like Burgener's saying she used 9,000 gallons of water in one day... Fathom customers want answers and action.

"All they say is, 'Oh yeah, I see this is going on. I'll have someone come check it out for you, someone to go to your house'... I've never seen anybody," Bergener said. 

"We know that there are things that have occurred and billings that have been sent out and readings that have been read and put on bills that we know we have to address," said Ryan Haverlah, the project manager for the Copperas Cove Utilities Department.

So in regard to the higher water bills...

"Obviously, the old meters have been in the ground a while which means they have been used for a long time and have become less accurate over time. By installing new meters, you're capturing 100 percent of the usage, not less," added Haverlah. 

... and for the few hundred customers who still don't have the new meters and might be experiencing delays in billing...

"When we cut back on staff, we couldn't get to all those meters in a timely basis. So, assistance from other city departments is helping us to go out there and get the readings on those meters," Haverlah said.  

All in all, the City of Copperas Cove wants its residents and Fathom customers to know the transition has been hard for everyone... including the city.

"Please be patient with us," said Haverlah. 

The new meters are wireless and suppose to send readings every 15 minutes, but some areas of Copperas Cove don't have the best connection. It's an issue the city is also working on. 

For all issues regarding Fathom water bills, the city suggests calling in to the call center for help. In extreme cases, the city supervisors will become involved. 

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