SAN DIEGO — The Public Utilities Department for the City of San Diego has been under scrutiny over years-long problems relating to water bills. This week, Councilmember Marni von Wilpert upped the pressure on the department for a fix.

“What is happening in this department? Why are so many of my constituents calling me asking for help?” the councilmember, who represents the fifth city council district, said. “We are happy to help them, we will get them through the system and get their bills fixed, but you shouldn’t have to call your councilmember to get your water bill resolved.”

The Public Utilities Department has been plagued by management issues for years, von Wilpert said pointing to erroneous water bills that are too high and other bills that simply don’t get sent.

There have been thousands of complaints and rate payers are used to holding on the phones for hours to speak with someone. 

During a visit with the Public Utilities Department, von Wilpert demanded answers and asked what she can do as a City Councilmember to fund, fix or bring on more staff to finally start to get to the bottom of why hundreds of thousands of bills have issues.

“This is just a mess,” said von Wilpert. “We need to dig out from underneath this back log and make sure their customer service experience is improved.”

The Public Utilities Department is also expected to upgrade their phone systems by the September 27, which should alleviate some of the difficulties getting ahold of customer service representatives.

FOX 5 reached out to the department for comment, but they were not available.