RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – People in Bergen County say they’re drowning in outrageous water bills.

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, Ridgewood Water overhauled its systems, but that was not a good thing for many customers who suddenly got socked with bills running into the thousands of dollars.

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Two homeowners, one from Wyckoff and one from Glen Rock, both have the same problem: exorbitant water bills.

“In the thousands,” Scott Hornak, of Glen Rock, said.

“They charged us $2,500,” Wyckoff resident Dominick Marano said.

Hornak called after receiving the heart-stopping bill.

“I said, ‘Is there a leak or something?’ And they said no, we’ve just been doing estimated water bills,” Hornak said.

With new meters being installed, one-time-only back charges are being assessed, Murdock reported.

“It can be estimates for six months or for as many as five or six years,” Frank Moritz said, director of operations for Ridgewood Water.

Moritz told CBS2 bills for their customers in Glen Rock, Midland Park, Ridgewood and Wyckoff have been estimates, but quarterly bills will change with the new meters.

“It’s almost like 50/50, where there are as many getting a high bill as we owe money to,” Moritz said.

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The mayor of Ridgewood, Paul Aronsohn, who scrutinizes all plans and budgets proposed by Ridgewood Water, said he got a big bill too after his meter was replaced.

“(You’re confident that the bills people are receiving are accurate?) Absolutely,” Aronsohn said.

“Every meter we take out is tested for accuracy,” Moritz said.

The replacement began three years ago and is expected to wrap up this spring.

“(Everyone will know if there’s a big surprise waiting by when?) By the end of March. By the time they get the bill, it may be a month or two later than that,” Moritz said.

Moritz assured CBS2 that after the one-time charge, all bills will be based on actual readings, not estimates.

But that’s of little consolation to Marano.

“Fix the bill, get rid of these charges,” he said.

He said the $2,500 in back charges shouldn’t be his burden to bear.

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Ridgewood Water is offering payment plans to those hit with big back charges.