HARLINGEN — After 10 years, the Harlingen WaterWorks System has a new website, which includes more interactive features.
But some customers are mistakenly using mimicking websites to pay their utility bills that now include processing fees.
Officials are concerned customers who use other websites to pay their bills run the risk of getting their utility service cut off.
WaterWorks officials told board members customers’ payments to third parties such as these websites take about a week to arrive at the utility’s office, creating a delay during which services could be cut off.
But that hasn’t happened here yet.
WaterWorks General Manager Darrell Gunn showed board members other websites operating under the name of Harlingen WaterWorks System.
“In the urgency, they hit the wrong website and they pay it,” Gunn told board members during a meeting this week.
Board member Kevin Campbell said such websites are known as “pay centers.”
“This is happening all through the Internet,” Campbell said.
In October, officials began finding out some customers are using the third-party centers to pay their bills.
About six customers have used other websites to pay their bills recently.
Starting this month, customers’ utility bills might include a service fee.
On Feb. 9, the city’s utility bills began including a $3 processing fee for credit card payments.
For payments of more than $100, the city now charges a 3-percent processing fee.
Last year, city commissioners approved an ordinance allowing the city to charge the fees to offset the costs incurred as a result of processing credit card payments.
Harlingen WaterWorks System’s new website’s address is hwws.com
The agency’s logo appears along the site’s home page’s top right corner, over the image of a glass pitcher pouring water into a glass.
The image features the slogan “Committed to the highest quality standards.”