News Feature | April 11, 2018

From Florida To North Carolina, Ratepayers Pay In Pennies

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

pennies reg new

Ratepayers have invented a new way to peacefully protest their water utilities: paying in pennies.

Dana McCool of Deltona, FL, was a pioneer of this form of protest after she chose to pay her bill of $493 dollars in pennies, according to Fox News. That meant forking over 49,369 copper coins.

“McCool posted her penny dropoff at the utility’s customer service office on Facebook, along with an explanatory video, in which she accuses Deltona Water of gaslighting its constituency,” The Miami Herald reported.

Since then, the penny protest has spread. Angela Humphries of Raleigh, NC, is among those trying the same thing.

“Hundreds of Wake County residents are still pushing back after their water bills have more than doubled. The city of Raleigh says the increase is due to erroneous billing for more than a decade that was recently discovered,” The News & Observer reported.

“Humphries and a handful of other affected residents aired their grievances to the Raleigh City Council, asking for all water customers to pay the same rate regardless of whether they live inside or outside city limits,” the report said.

The billing problems stem from a water utility mistake, which was caught in an audit.

“Raleigh charged 635 Wake County residents lower, in-town water rates when they should have been paying higher out-of-town rates. Most of the people affected by the error live in the Willow Deer and Jones Dairy Farm subdivisions near Wake Forest. A smaller number of people were being charged double when they should have been paying the lower rate,” The News & Observer reported.

Ratepayers also hand-delivered their bills to city council members as a way to raise awareness about the issue, according to WRAL.

Image credit: "pennies," slgckgc © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/