PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Two Pittsburgh City Council members introduced legislation today involving the billing issues with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Dan Gilman and Theresa Kail-Smith presented legislation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting hoping to fix the PWSA billing issues.

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“We have received a ton of complaints from across the City of Pittsburgh, not only isolated to our districts, but across the City of Pittsburgh. Other council members have also received some complaints. There’s been a large amount in my district because it was part of the area that was most affected,” Kail-Smith said. “Councilman Gilman and I are introducing legislation to restructure the Water Exoneration Board.”

That board is responsible for hearing concerns from residents, but Councilwoman Kail-Smith said the PWSA had total control.

“It was pretty much that the PWSA was not only issuing the bills, they were also judge and jury. So, now we decided to restructure that board,” she said.

PWSA spokesman Brendan Schubert agrees the board needs to be revamped.

“We applaud the City Council’s efforts, Councilman Gilman and Councilwoman Smith addressing this piece legislation that has been needed to be modernized for quite some time,” Schubert said.

For the past year, some PWSA customers have gotten incorrect charges or bills that never came.

Some of the incorrect charges were shocking. In several cases, customers contacted KDKA-TV about receiving $12,000 water bills.

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Marty Griffin just spoke to Amanda Fisher and her husband. They received a $12,000 water bill and then received a ten-day shutoff notice. Marty was able to contact PWSA and get the matter resolved.

Last year, KDKA-TV talked to another couple who received a similar bill. Griffin was able to get that situation worked out too. We also spoke to a local man who was being sent a water bill for a property that had been torn down years ago.

The PWSA had this response to the recent problems during Marty’s Nov. 20 story: “We’re going through an organizational change,” said Shubert. “To change something that’s historically had issues, it is hard. We have a good group, a core group that is dedicated to making that happen.”

Back in September, the PWSA apologized after about 25,000 customers didn’t receive bills. They sent apology letters to customers and set up a three-month payment plan for anyone owing $200 or less and a six-month payment plan for those owing more than $200.

After the legislation is introduced, it comes up for committee discussion before the final vote.

That should take about two weeks.

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