Ever get a $1M water bill? Customers mistakenly told they owe hundreds of thousands after glitch

Photo illustration of a water faucet.

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Photo illustration of a water faucet.

It was a shock at first: Notifications started going out to residents in Lowell, Massachusetts, that they owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid water and sewer balances.

Some assumed it was an April Fools' joke. Others admitted they panicked a little.

But it turns out it was a glitch.

The city of Lowell's chief financial officer says they use a third-party vendor for billing, and the vendor is having some technical issues.

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One woman was petrified she did something wrong and somehow used up nearly $150,000 in water.

"I travel a lot for work so sometimes I’m gone and the sink could have been going or there would have been a faulty toilet so I got a little nervous," said Chantelle DelOrfano of Lowell.

WFXT's Elysia Rodriguez reported that one customer received a bill for more than $1 million.

In a statement, the city's chief financial officer, Conor Baldwin, said, "The vendor has apologized for the inconvenience caused by this error and is dedicated to working with the Finance Office to reconcile and correct all the balances for all valued customers in the city.”

Anyone who got an incorrect email or text reminder should ignore it at this point, and once they fix the issue, new ones will go out, officials said.

Read more here.

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