Raleigh sent several bills with the corrected rate before customers were notified about the change. A community meeting was postponed due to weather, and Humphries said the city didn't effectively let people know about the rescheduled event.
The utilities department is undergoing an internal "corrective and preventive action" to look at what happened and where the process broke down, Massengill said.
"I can see how frustrating this has been for all of you," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane told the several water customers who came to a City Council meeting this week. "And I know the notifications caused a lot of angst right at the start."
Seventy-two customers had charged lower rates than they should have been paying for 12 years. The city will give them credit up to three years on their water bills.
Raleigh should have been more open throughout the process, Chris Humphries said.
"Everyone makes mistakes. There are always going to be small mistakes," he said. "And then you step up and handle it and be as honest as possible about it. But they haven't."
He and some other water customers say they plan to continue talks with their state representatives, including Rep. Chris Malone, to see if anything could be changed on the state level to help them.
"We don't want to waste tax dollars in a lawsuit, or anyone's time," Humphries said. "No one wants to deal with lawyers if we can help it. We want what is fair and don't want a long, drawn-out lawsuit."
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