Reader Jim just got a water bill that says his usage has jumped up to
19,000 23,000 gallons per month from his usual 4,000. This is a guy who lives in a one-bath, one-toilet, one-sink house. “Must be that swimming pool I filled in the middle of winter in Western PA,” he says. So far, the utility has dismissed all his requests for explanation, or logic, and demanded he pay up immediately.
Jim writes, “I just received a water bill that added an extra 19,000 gallons to my average 4,000 gallon/month usage. Must be that swimming pool I filled in the middle of winter in Western PA. No leaks (landlord verified). No mysterious 6 foot of water in my basement. Just 19,000 gallons of water gone.
When I alerted the water company, not only was I given a unified “you must pay! you must pay!” from all of the staff (supervisors included), I spoke with the most unfriendly, and downright miserable, customer service reps. Now, my only step is a letter to the board and/or a meeting to discuss where this water went. All this to prove a one-bath, one-toilet, one-sink house didn’t use six months of water in a period of 30 days.
They will check your meter (for a non-refundable $30 fee), and only run two tests of 15 gallons to determine faults. Don’t ask for a more detailed analysis; rules are rules and the tests ARE the law. So far, the temporary meter I have until March 3rd has reported 500 gallons total in the last 5.5 days; my old meter reported this value (500 gallons) in a 6-hour span the night before they sent it to be tested (it also registered 5000 gallons over the last two weeks). Needless to say, my old meter tested “fine”.
Oh the joys of a monopolistic system where renters and home-owners have but one choice: public water and sewage. I think I’ll move back to the country