Village Sends Woman $3600 Water Bill

Here’s another good reason to monitor your utility bills. A woman in Illinois saw her quarterly water bill shoot from $150 on average to $3600, after the village where she lives finally fixed a broken outside meter that for 25 years misreported her home’s water usage.

Scharie Freeman has only lived in the home for half that time, but the village clerk says she owes the full amount, and if it’s not paid by January 24th they’ll add a 10% late fee to it.

Nicole Harris of Quad-Cities Online writes,

The water usage on the bill states Ms. Freeman and her 8-year-old grandson who lives with her went through 732,540 gallons over the billing period — or roughly 100,000 gallons more than what would fill an Olympic-size pool.

It’s possible that a 2005 leak contributed to a large spike in water usage, or it could just be the cumulative corrections of meter errors over a quarter of a century. But in light of yesterday’s post about estimated utility bills, we thought it made for a good example of just how ridiculous your utility bill can get when something’s wrong with the meter or the meter reader. In this case, had Ms. Freeman known to check the reported reading on her bill with the one on her meter in the basement, she may have discovered the error years ago.

“I don’t even know how to read a meter,” said Ms. Freeman.

Ah, yes. Actually, I don’t either. Or I didn’t until just now: How To Read A Water Meter

“Pool-sized water bill floors Carbon Cliff woman” [Quad Cities Online]
(Photo: Todd Mizener / Quad Cities Online)