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Water department billing scrutinized

September 06, 2008

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - In addition to the increased water rate recommendation by the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC), Wednesday's hearing included a discussion of the Berkeley Springs Water Works billing system.

PSC employee Bobbie Boston, a utilities analyst with the Water Waste Division, said by using PSC procedures, which are not in writing, the water department overcharged 49 large-meter water customers who used more than 6,000 gallons per quarter. The overcharge is about $161,000 and occurred between January 2005 and August.

Boston said it appears the problem began when the town changed its billing software.

Councilman David Crosby, the town's finance chair, said he thought the calculations were done correctly. He said the way the town interprets the rate structure is different than the way the PSC calculates it.

Crosby said the rate structure that went into effect in January 2006, which was accepted by the PSC, was not interpreted incorrectly by the town.

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A decision will be made Sept. 22 by the PSC administrative law judge.

- Trish Rudder

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