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From the River to the Tap: Field Investigation

“Water is essential to life, and just being part of something as big as that brings me joy. Whether you’re thirsty, are taking a shower – water is essential and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Daren Thompson is a field investigator specialist, which means he works with residential customers to determine what’s causing unusually high bills. He’s on the ground, meeting with customers at their homes, checking Charlotte Water equipment, and tracking potential issues.

Daren Thompson 1

Daren can get a call in several ways; first, billing “detectives” like Customer Service Revenue Assistant Febee Martin, who we profiled yesterday, can send a service order asking for his help. Representatives with 311 can also request his skills when customers with high bills or water pressure issues call.

“I call customers first to let them know I’m coming to find out what may be causing their high bills,” Daren said. “When I get there, I check our equipment to make sure it’s working properly, that it’s reading the meter accurately, that Charlotte Water doesn’t have a problem with our pipes.”

But he doesn’t stop there. He sees his job as a way to educate customers.

“They’ll say, ‘I have a high water bill and I didn’t use more water than usual,’ so I show them how the equipment works. I’ll go to the register and ask the customer to turn on a faucet, then show them the dial spinning to monitor how much water they’re using. When they turn the water off, the dial stops. They can see for themselves how the equipment works and that we are here to help them.”

If the Charlotte Water equipment is all working correctly, the customer most likely has a leak. Many times, Daren and his coworkers are telling customers about leaks before customers had any idea. This proactive approach means homeowners can catch some leaks before they cause major problems, as well as saving water.

“I want our customers to know we have accurate equipment, that we aren’t trying to nickel and dime them or take advantage of them,” he said. “Of course, it is mechanical, so sometimes I do find a problem on our end, and it’s our chance to show our customers we care and are here to help them. I like seeing the smile on their face when I can solve the problem. It shows that Charlotte Water is here for their benefit.”

Daren came to Charlotte Water four years ago, after working for the water department in Columbia, S.C. He hopes to make this a lifetime career. “I feel like Charlotte Water has some of the best water in the world. Being part of that makes me happy.”

To read the  water process from the beginning click here