12 ON YOUR SIDE: Richmond sorts out meter mixup

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A water meter mix up in Richmond went on for more than a year until 12 Investigates got involved. One tenant had to call the Mayor's office to get a supervisor to call him back and that still didn't solve the problem.

On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker checked out the complaint and got a resolution.

The City of Richmond won't say how it happened but a single family home was converted into apartments, and somewhere down the line all the meters got crossed and stayed that way for a long time.

Gregg Griffins has water today but four times in 15 months it's been shut off. That's how long he's had to deal with disconnections and paying the wrong bill.

"I'm being charged for two people's utilities," Griffins said. "I'm also having mine turned off every couple months because someone else doesn't pay theirs."

Griffins isn't sure who was getting billed for what he used but says the meters were all mixed up and the single building with four apartments Richmond had listed as having six.

"My apartment was labeled as apartment 2 which doesn't exist. There were also other apartments labeled that don't exist," he said. "Another neighbor wasn't paying anything and getting his utilities for free."

Griffins says he called the city again and again. Each time a technician would come but there was no resolution. He believes work orders were never enacted because city departments didn't communicate.

Griffins says he was missing work and paying ridiculous money.

The City's Public Information Manager Angela Fountain won't talk about this complaint but said, " "If we come out there and they have not received the response that they need, then we would ask that they continue to call us. Every time that they do call us, we will come out there and investigate it."

The City verified each apartment with each meter and got rid of the ghost accounts.
"I was pretty confident when I called you guys. I watch 12 On Your Side all the time and I see results so I was surprised but not shocked," Griffins said.

Griffins was out of options and says the city had stopped returning his calls.  But now, he has a refund, money credited to his account, and the city's assurance his water won't be cut off again.

"Yes, Diane I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is a lot of stress off my back," Griffins said.

The mix up also included gas meters. The City took care of those too and gave Griffins direct numbers to reach upper management. If you have any problem or flaws in your utility bill, call the City at 804-646-7000 or you can dial 311.

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