City utility policy is all wet

I have read in The Augusta Chronicle about Augusta Commission votes on a forensic audit. Those attempts are misguided. The government department most in need of investigation must surely be the Augusta Utilities Department.

Our recent move outside Richmond County lines was accompanied by a great sigh of relief at not being subjected to the arbitrary, confiscatory rates of this dysfunctional department. For 13 years, our water bills have skyrocketed in the winter months. Even on occasions when we were out of town for three of the four weeks in the billing cycle, I could count on at least one month’s bill reflecting usage of double or more our monthly norm.

Why? Well, those are the months when water consumption determines sewer bills for the whole year. Any calls to protest the illogic of January’s bill exceeding July’s (July – when we are in town and do occasionally water the azaleas) were met with blank, bureaucratic indifference. We spent hundreds of dollars on plumbers who checked under the house and in the walls, finding no leaks.

The customer-oriented folks at AUD got in one last, outstanding bit of service (in the “agricultural” sense of the term). Our final bill recently showed up, and is a model of AUD charm and efficiency. It was more than two months after our move and did not show a meter-read date or reading, or in any other way justify AUD’s contention that we owed them an elevated amount for service at an address where we did no watering and, in fact, did not live for a week or two of the billing period.

They don’t have to prove that we did use the water; we would somehow have to prove that we did not – logic not being a prized faculty in the AUD.

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