Residents Get Million-Dollar Water Bills

April 23, 2003

The last time Doris Bellerose paid her water bill, it came to about $81.50, after her senior discount. That's why her latest bill for $3.9 million caught her a bit off guard.

"I almost had a nervous breakdown," Bellerose told The Lowell Sun, a Massachusetts newspaper.

Bellerose was not the only Dracut, Mass., resident who found a billing mistake. Dracut Water District officials said about 15 residents received bills as skewed as Bellerose's — including one of their own billing clerks who was charged $3.3 million.

Water district commissioner Bob Corey blamed the error on a computer glitch caused by Dracut's recent switch from a biannual to a quarterly billing system. He said the district has begun mailing new bills to recipients of inflated bills, along with an apology.

"If I would have gotten a bill like that, I would have been screaming, too," Corey said.

Source: The Associated Press