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Petersburg woman buys smaller water meter to reduce rising bill

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- After more than 10 years in her Petersburg home, Carol Adams has learned she had a one inch water meter versus the typical 5/8ths meter. While it may seem like a small difference, the discrepancy means her monthly bill will almost triple from what she has been paying.

"I had no clue," she told CBS 6. "It's not fair that I have to go buy myself a meter when I didn't ask for this one inch meter."

The size of the meter more than likely was done at the time the home was constructed and for decades the City of Petersburg hasn't changed residential customers the fee for a one inch meter.

Carol Adams

The difference is between 5/8ths and one inch, but for Adams, the price was a $40 increase.

Retired and on a fixed income, Adams figured it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a smaller meter for $739.

"It's $188 down and $45 a month for one year," she said adding the city agreed to the payment plan.

Ron Flock, a member of the Government Watchdog Group Clean Sweep Petersburg, says "Why should you pay triple for the same service you've been paying for 50 years."

Flock said the difference just isn't fair.

"You have to treat every residence equal, you can't section out a certain group for something that is not in their control," he said.

The City said about 1700 residential customers will be affected and will see their water rates go up almost three times what they had been paying.

Flock said he did some research and found past City Code didn't allow for homeowners to pay more.

"In the past it said that all single family residents and non residents with 5/8th lines, are all charged the same rate," he explained.

The city said current municipal code now allows for the difference in price depending on water meter size.

A letter to those affected was scheduled to be sent out Tuesday.

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