- Associated Press - Thursday, March 31, 2016

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Officials with the Fayetteville Public Works Commission say refunds are due to as many as 3,500 Hope Mills customers after it was discovered that residents were charged different rates even if they lived on the same street.

The Fayetteville Observer reports (https://bit.ly/1RPZOB6) the practice came to light last month when Hope Mills resident Clarence Maxwell complained to the town’s Board of Commissioners that he and his son were billed at different rates for water consumption despite living in the same neighborhood.

The commissioners moved to change the policy after learning the disparate bills resulted from the utility’s 1998 purchase of the town’s water and sewer systems. The differences in rates for Hope Mills began in 2007.

On March 9, the commission board voted to discontinue the practice.

The PWC is reviewing more than 6,000 Hope Mills accounts that may be affected. The commission has determined about 2,500 of those already receive the correct rates, said Carolyn Justice-Hinson, the utility’s spokeswoman.

“Customers will receive letters about their account and whether it’s determined they are on the correct rate,” she said.

Justice-Hinson said the PWC hopes to begin charging the correct rates with May bills, but that’s only a target date.

The PWC has not said how much it is budgeting to pay out in one-time refunds, and it hasn’t said whether it would pay any interest to those customers.


Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, https://www.fayobserver.com

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