Water Water Everywhere, Five Dollars For a Drink

Estimated utility bills are a great way to get screwed over. Marjorie writes that the NYC Water Board overcharged her fivefold since 1997. After discovering the discrepancy, her lobbying for reimbursement only lead to a trickle of refunds and rebates.

Her tale and the Water Board’s ultimate spit in the face, after the jump.

From the time the DEP installed the water meter in my house in 1997, I never received anything but estimated bills. Good citizen that I am, I always paid them on time and in full, expecting that sooner or later the City would get around to creating the bureaucracy needed to read all the water meters in NYC. Early last I decided that it really had been long enough for the City to get its act together, and I called them to find out when an actual reading might happen. Well, I turns out that they had been doing it for years, but had installed a defective
remote reading device
on my home
so they just skipped it and sent out estimated bills. And no one at the NYC Water Board felt the need to repair or replace their
remote reading device.
I guess I was supposed to just intuit that that
s what was going on.

Well, it turns out that those estimated bills were actually about five times what I really owed. Then began the Kafka-esque nightmare of trying to get a refund. Now, after a year of dragging out little refunds from them in dribs and drabs, they
ve informed me that
the NYC Water Board rules and regulations only allow DEP to revise and perform adjustment to the charges on an account for four years from the date of inquiry.

- Marjorie, New York City

Ouch, that water burns.