CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Public Service Commission has published contact information that West Virginia American Water customers can call if they have questions about their bill.
Many West Virginia American customers were surprised when they got their first water bill after the Jan. 9 chemical leak that contaminated water for 300,000 customers in nine counties. State and local government officials ordered West Virginia American customers in the affected counties not to use their water for drinking, cooking or bathing.
Many customers continued to use the water only for flushing toilets -- or didn't use their water at all even after the water was again deemed usable. Now, many customers dispute the bills they received from West Virginia American, saying they couldn't possibly have used as much water as the water company claims they did.
Water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan has said an unusually large number of bills during the month-long water emergency were based on estimated water usage because the weather was too bad to read water meters. However, that doesn't explain why many disputed bills state that they were based on actual water usage.
PSC spokeswoman Susan Small said officials at the PSC want to hear about it if customers believe their water bill is wrong.
Small said customers with disputed bills first should try to contact West Virginia American, at 1-800-685-8660. However, if the dispute can't be resolved with the water company, she urges customers to call the Public Service Commission.
Small said the PSC has an informal and a formal complaint process. Informal complaints usually are resolved through negotiations with the water company, while formal complaints go through a hearing process.
To file an informal complaint, call 1-800-642-8544 or visit www.psc.state.wv.us and select "Request for Assistance" under the "E-File" heading, Smalls said.
To file a formal complaint, call 1-800-344-5113 or visit www.psc.state.wv.us and click on "Forms," she said.