It's taken eight months but a Halifax woman who was improperly billed by Halifax Water has finally had the charges reversed.
Jennifer Faulkner rents the upper flat of a house, has her own water meter and pays her own water bill. The homeowners who live below have a separate meter.
"I had heard a lot of news stories about people being upset about the storm water charge, but I didn't think it applied to me because I rent an apartment," she said.
"I decided to double check my bill and that's when I realized I was getting charged both the storm water and right-of-way charges."
That was in May 2015. She called Halifax Water to ensure the charge wasn't being split between herself and the homeowners, and instead learned she was being double-billed.
"They were charging both me and my landlords the same amount for the storm water and right-of-way charge," she said.
Lengthy process frustrating
Faulkner said a customer-service representative told her it would take a month or so to confirm the improper charges because so many people were appealing the storm water charge.
With Halifax Water employees subsequently going on strike, Faulkner said she patiently waited for the utility to get back to her. No one did.
She called in August and again in October and was told a decision on everybody's claim would be made by Jan. 31, 2016. She finally received a call on Jan. 15.
"They told me they were going to credit my account for all the charges from July 2013 when they first started taking the charge until October 2015 and they wouldn't be charging me going forward," she said.
Faulkner said while she's pleased with the eventual outcome, she was frustrated she had to keep calling Halifax Water and the length of time it took to deal with her complaint.
"It shouldn't have taken that long to get resolution and I should have been communicated with on a more regular basis," she said.
'Not a big issue'
Halifax Water spokesman James Campbell told CBC News this is not a big issue, with just 30 similar cases being identified last year.
"We have 97,000 customers and .03 per cent is the error rate on this one, so it's pretty miniscule," he said.
Campbell was unable to say how long it took to resolve the other cases or whether they were identified by customers or Halifax Water. He said any customer who is found to be improperly charged will be fully reimbursed.
"We're not in the business of charging customers for service they're not receiving so as soon as we found out, through this customer, that there was problem with the bill, we reimbursed her," he said.
Faulkner said the utility should be more proactive and should ask meter readers to identify properties with more than one meter so it can ensure double-billing is not taking place.
"There may be people out there who don't even realize you can get this charge reversed and you're not responsible for it," she said.
Campbell said the utility has no plans to alert the public because of the low number of customers affected.
"The next time we do major data updates or configuration in our billing system we plan to do a review to look for other similar situations," he said.
"I really don't see it as big problem, but if customers see any problem with their bill, no matter what it is, they certainly can contact us."