Ask SAM added to shell 110518

Q: We had two water bills that were ridiculously high a couple of years ago, but it was resolved with your help. It has happened again; we went from around $28 to almost $600. We are two 75-plus seniors living alone and we travel a great deal. This is so upsetting to us. Is there any way to resolve this issue?

P.O.

Answer: SAM shared your information with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County utilities department, which looked into the problem.

As a result, “This customer’s issue was resolved to their satisfaction,” said Courtney Driver, the utilities director.

“Occasionally our customers notice that their water and sewer bill is higher than usual,” she said. “When this happens, there are some natural causes like increased usage by family or guests. Seasonal increases are also common in spring and summer. Other causes are less obvious, like a dripping faucet or concealed leak.”

If your bill is inexplicably high and you’d like to request an investigation, Driver suggested you contact CityLink Online or call 311 or 336-727-8000.

This does not apply in the extreme case of P.O.’s water bill, but in some recent cases, the utilities division has said that there have been some delays in its billing cycle, which has resulted in billing cycles of 75 or more rather than 60 days, which would result in a higher than average bill. Also, water consumption generally increases in spring and summer months, so you should expect your bill to reflect that increased usage.

However, more extreme changes in your bill could be because of a leak, unauthorized use, or some other factor. You can find out more details and tips at www.cityofws.org/Departments/Utilities/Residential-Services/Unusually-High-Bills.

“After our investigators determine the source of an unusually high bill and necessary repairs are made, you may be eligible for an adjustment on the three highest bills associated with the leak,” according to the site. Some restrictions apply on leak adjustments, so you should contact CityLink for more specific details.

“In the absence of a plumber’s receipt, verification of all repairs by our field investigators is necessary before any monetary adjustments can be considered.”

Q: I called CityLink more than a year ago to ask about getting a water fountain installed at the pavilion at Hobby Park, but there is still none.

S.R.

Answer: “This is the first time I’ve seen this request,” said William Royston, the recreation and parks director for the city. “There are no water lines installed at Hobby Park. The restrooms use water from a well. Without water lines, we can’t install a fountain.”

Thanks

J.M. wrote in to thank the “super nice gentleman who helped me track down an address for some long-lost friends.... This gentleman doesn’t know me at all, but went above and beyond to provide help.”

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Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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