Richmond man reimbursed nearly $6K for water overcharges

Richmond man reimbursed nearly $6K for water overcharges
Kenneth Suggs says he's still waiting on reimbursements. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man who said he's overpaid for water due to incorrect equipment installed on his line has been reimbursed.

Kenneth Suggs said the city refunded him $5,833.

"They showed me some justice thanks to 12 On Your Side," he said.

Shortly after the story originally aired on May 1, Suggs said he got a call from the City of Richmond.

"They said Mr. Suggs we've got a check in the mail," he said.

Suggs was told he could expect to see that check in roughly four to five weeks, but on Monday he received an envelope from Richmond Department of Public Utilities.

The check was made out to his landlord for nearly $6,000.

"I was so happy… This is stuff I was owed," he said.

Suggs pays the water bill as part of his monthly rent to his landlord.

In January Suggs said a utility worker checking his water meter told him he had a valve meant for a commercial building rather than a residential structure, which allowed excess water to flow through.

"My monthly bills for water were $150 to almost $280," he said.

Suggs is a disabled veteran and said public utility representatives have said he would be reimbursed within five months, but he had only received $174, the equivalent of one month's charges.

He's also focused on taking care of his pets, which he considers his kids, Tiger and Spencer.

"I just know I've been broke because I'm on a fixed income. I'm robbing Peter to pay Paul," Suggs said.

Suggs added he paid the high bills because he was worried that if he didn't his water would be shut off.

He also reached out to DPU for answers.

"A closed mouth don't get fed," he said. "I stayed on it."

On May 1, a spokesperson for DPU said Suggs' case is under review, and a representative would be contacting him soon.

Wednesday the department urged customers who feel their bill is incorrect to contact them immediately.

"DPU will perform an investigation that entails looking at history of usage, checking meters and other equipment to ensure they are working properly, investigating for leaks, etc," spokesperson Angela Fountain said in an email. "If DPU finds that a customer has been overcharged, their account will be refunded the amount."

Suggs said he wasn't sure if anyone else on his street was going through the same thing, but he spread the word.

"My concern is to make sure they were aware of what I was going through," he said.

Fountain said this appears to be an isolated incident.

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