Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


Big Spike In Water Bills Worries Mount Pleasant Residents

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) — Inside her Mount Pleasant home, Shani Whitesell caught up on dirty dishes Thursday. Whitesell says she's still catching her breath after receiving a warning from the water company recently.

"Your water bill is $330. Just the estimated. That's not even through this whole cycle," she read from the card.

The notice states she had used 21,100 gallons of water. As a result, her new bill would be $330.

"I was in shock. I almost had a heart attack. Kind of had a little bit of a panic attack," Whitesell explained.

Whitesell says her normal water usage is 1,381 gallons per cycle with a typical bill of $50.

"There's just me and my three children. And part of that time, over half that time actually two weeks of it during that billing cycle my children are with their Dad. So it’s just me," she said.

Shani hired a plumber to look for undetected leaks inside and outside her house in Longpoint.

"He felt like there was some type of misleading that may have occurred because I did not have a leak," Whitesell said.

An official with Mount Pleasant Waterworks tells ABC News 4 they've only heard complaints from two customers in Longpoint. A widely shared social media post reveals another customer received a water bill for $1,006. Others commenting on the post said their bills had increased hundreds of dollars.

Moments after ABC News 4 interviewed Whitesell Thursday, an employee from Mount Pleasant Waterworks stopped by to inspect the meter.

"It may have been a tripped water meter and that's why they sent the bill out," said the utility worker.

She told Whitesell how recent rainfall may have affected the meter reading.

"So they'll correct it then?”, she asked.

“They will,” responded the water utility employee.

“Ok. Thank you so much," replied Whitesell.

Relief for a working mother of three, facing a radical spike in a monthly expense.

"Machines make mistakes. People make mistakes. I mean we all do. It's just nice when somebody listens to you," she said.

While officials admit glitches can happen with meter reading, Waterworks officials encourage people to check for leaks with toilets and irrigation systems before notifying them.

Installation of a state-of-the-art meter system in Mount Pleasant started this month. Officials say it'll take three years to complete.

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