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(WJHL Tri-Cities)   Woman turns off her water. Gets $3k water bill   (wjhl.com) divider line 125
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23625 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2014 at 2:32 PM (36 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-09 03:16:10 PM

here to help: Yeah, well that'll happen when you try to refuse the monopoly that are "essential services" or try to do anything other than be lubricant for cold hard cash flowing directly into the hands of those who need it least. Yet we'll all make fun of that Mick Dodge hippie fellow for wandering around the wilderness barefoot because despite his self reliance and personal happiness he doesn't play the game. Therefore he makes supply side jebus cry and for that he must be punished. I mean seriously... what a FREAK! I bet he doesn't even like football or jerking off to foreigners get "liberated" into a fine mist.

/dnrtfa


stop taking PN's medicine.
 
2014-01-09 03:17:00 PM

buzzcut73: Using my city's water rates (.70 per 1000 for the first 3000 gallons, 1.89 per thousand after that) this lady got billed for 1,589,000 gallons. Can a typical residential line even have that flow out of it in the course of a month?


It would appear so.
 
2014-01-09 03:18:47 PM
She got rogered.
 
2014-01-09 03:19:44 PM

Satan's Bunny Slippers: stop taking PN's medicine.


I think that's just about the finest compliment I've ever received here on the Fark dot coms.

:-)
 
2014-01-09 03:21:33 PM

show me: nekom: and until the put in the prison a decade or so ago nobody had sewage at all.

Sounds like a whole lotta constipated people to me.


No, just free-range outhouses.
 
2014-01-09 03:22:25 PM

here to help: Satan's Bunny Slippers: stop taking PN's medicine.

I think that's just about the finest compliment I've ever received here on the Fark dot coms.

:-)


:)  I've always enjoyed your posts.  That one truly reminded me of PN.

^5
 
2014-01-09 03:24:08 PM
So where did the $3k bill come from?
 
2014-01-09 03:24:19 PM
We had a leak under our house several years ago.  Our water company gave us a phone call to let us know that our water usage was unusually high for the month.  They will also do an adjustment once a year, as long as you have proof that the leak has been repaired.
 
2014-01-09 03:24:41 PM

big pig peaches: So where did the $3k bill come from?



the water company.


:)
 
2014-01-09 03:25:36 PM

Drunken_Polar_Bear: Around here, he local fire department will fill your pool out of the fire main for free with the caveat that if there is a fire on your block and they need the water, they can pump your pool and you have to keep the pool topped off on your own afterwards.  Works pretty nice since if there IS a fire, they just hook up to the mains anyway and never pump the pool.


That's pretty awesome.  I hope you at least offered them a beer or something.
 
2014-01-09 03:26:31 PM

Watubi: Smeggy Smurf: Russ1642: Meter readers read the meter. That's it. They don't know your average use or care. They don't do some analysis and leave a note on your door.

If they even bother to read the meter.  A lot of them just estimate and fark you if they overestimate

If even that.  I turned off every circuit breaker and shut off the main water line to a house I wasn't going to be living in for a few months.  I got utility bills for "estimated usage" based on past years and was told it didn't matter what my actual usage was, I still had to pay


I'd have sued them for fraud.  A million times the amount of the bill because fark them that's why
 
2014-01-09 03:27:09 PM
I would refuse payment!
 
2014-01-09 03:28:46 PM
Around here you can apply for a leak-allowance credit towards an excessive bill if you can show that you repaired a leak.  http://www.sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=53
 
2014-01-09 03:31:54 PM
What's a "water bill"?

/well water
 
2014-01-09 03:32:13 PM

Satan's Bunny Slippers: Lando Lincoln: Normally one is charged for the amount of water that the city has to process back into drinking water (the stuff that flows down your sewer line). This is why when you're filling a swimming pool you contact the water department so you don't get a giant water bill. So I'm not sure why she would have to pay this bill.

Hm.  Well then Joliet is a hella lot different than Peoria.  No free pool water here, they charge you for what comes in and what goes out, every pint of it.

But a few years back my ex in laws (nice people) were on vacay and some vandals turned on the outside tap on their house.  By the time a neighbor noticed it, lots of damage and water wasted. It was a big lot and of course on the back of the house.  The water company did reduce what should have been their $14,000 (yes, 14 thousand) bill to just under $4,000.  And somehow they got their insurance to pay most of that.  Nope, don't know how they did that.


Probably filed it as a vandalism claim.
 
2014-01-09 03:32:14 PM

Satan's Bunny Slippers: here to help: Satan's Bunny Slippers: stop taking PN's medicine.

I think that's just about the finest compliment I've ever received here on the Fark dot coms.

:-)

:)  I've always enjoyed your posts.  That one truly reminded me of PN.

^5


Well I don't see you around much but I seem to recall enjoying yours as well.

*fistilybumples*
 
2014-01-09 03:34:23 PM
There was a Law & Order episode about this kind of thing years ago. Apparently a meter reader mistakenly wrote down the wrong numbers and an electronics store had something like a $50,000 water bill. So one of the owners tried to shoot the guy, wound up killing some important official instead, and this led to a huge thing that involved homeland security. All because a meter reader switched two numbers and wouldn't admit his mistake.
 
2014-01-09 03:34:25 PM
DNRTFA
DNRTFT

Somebody who qualifies to vote and sign contracts and conduct all sorts of business in the adult world either forgot that thay weren't getting water bills, or more likely, thought they were winning free water because they weren't getting billed.

but for whatever reason, the water company finally twigged and calculated a bill that covered the whole amount owed.

let's post and then see how accurate this is...
 
2014-01-09 03:34:32 PM

macross87: How do you not notice a leak of that magnitude coming from under your house?


by being 78 years old and never getting under your house?  not sure what kind of neighborhood you are in but water could easily drain away from the home without you knowing it.

and she cancelled her bill when it became $90 from her previous $30-40.  the $3k was from the time lost between the leak and when the bill was sent.  maybe the $90 was only 4 or 5 days of the leak from the previous month to being a full months worth of that leak on the $3k bill from the cancellation.

and yeah, meter readers dont generally know your previous months bills or expectations but we live in a very tech savvy world where such a thing wouldn't be hard at all to do with apps for all your meter readers in the field.(apartments and condos might be more difficult but not really, imo. how hard would it really be to attach meter numbers to account profiles?)  in the name of good customer service this wouldn't be a difficult thing to tackle.  except that monopolies have no need whatsoever for good customer service.  they only need legal deniability and a city contract.  and extra taxes and fees and rampant inconsistent and incorrect readings that are so subtle the average consumer would never notice anyway.
 
2014-01-09 03:35:12 PM

Smeggy Smurf: Russ1642: Meter readers read the meter. That's it. They don't know your average use or care. They don't do some analysis and leave a note on your door.

If they even bother to read the meter.  A lot of them just estimate and fark you if they overestimate


Usually it isn't a problem on an ongoing basis. And it gets adjusted periodically.

In cases of new customers or significant change in usage, it can go pretty badly either way. If she was on that system she would have paid regular bills for several months with no knowledge of the leak and then received a bill several times that amount to adjust to actual.

Part of the reason I lack sympathy is she already knew she had a leak and shut the water off on the wrong side of the leak.

If you are shutting the water off because you believe there is a link, yet call the city and get it turned off by the city.

If you don't do that you can always check the meter. They can be stupidly hard to read, but it is generally pretty obvious if there is water flowing through. If it is a smart-meter you can't check, you can generally call the city and ask them.
 
2014-01-09 03:36:40 PM

letrole: DNRTFA
DNRTFT

Somebody who qualifies to vote and sign contracts and conduct all sorts of business in the adult world either forgot that thay weren't getting water bills, or more likely, thought they were winning free water because they weren't getting billed.

but for whatever reason, the water company finally twigged and calculated a bill that covered the whole amount owed.

let's post and then see how accurate this is...


good job, nostradumbass.
 
2014-01-09 03:38:05 PM

letrole: DNRTFA
DNRTFT

Somebody who qualifies to vote and sign contracts and conduct all sorts of business in the adult world either forgot that thay weren't getting water bills, or more likely, thought they were winning free water because they weren't getting billed.

but for whatever reason, the water company finally twigged and calculated a bill that covered the whole amount owed.

let's post and then see how accurate this is...

########################


Completely wrong. I've been conditioned and corrupted by links to The Consumerist and Opposing Viewpoints

 
2014-01-09 03:41:01 PM

umrdyldo: $3,000 at $7/1k gallons = 428,000 gallons.  57,000 cu ft   238 ft cube.

Where did that go in a month?


What, never heard of gound water?

Yuk, yuk yuk

Here all week
Tip somebody

/sorry
 
2014-01-09 03:41:29 PM

xanadian: I guess it depends on the state and town, but where was the demarc for the water line?  I'm guessing AFTER the meter and the homeowner is responsible, like most places.

Anyway...good luck, lady.


Well, it would be quite hard to charge her for any water that leaked out before the meter, so...
=Smidge=
 
2014-01-09 03:41:44 PM

The Flexecutioner: macross87: How do you not notice a leak of that magnitude coming from under your house?

by being 78 years old and never getting under your house?  not sure what kind of neighborhood you are in but water could easily drain away from the home without you knowing it.

and she cancelled her bill when it became $90 from her previous $30-40.  the $3k was from the time lost between the leak and when the bill was sent.  maybe the $90 was only 4 or 5 days of the leak from the previous month to being a full months worth of that leak on the $3k bill from the cancellation.

and yeah, meter readers dont generally know your previous months bills or expectations but we live in a very tech savvy world where such a thing wouldn't be hard at all to do with apps for all your meter readers in the field.(apartments and condos might be more difficult but not really, imo. how hard would it really be to attach meter numbers to account profiles?)  in the name of good customer service this wouldn't be a difficult thing to tackle.  except that monopolies have no need whatsoever for good customer service.  they only need legal deniability and a city contract.  and extra taxes and fees and rampant inconsistent and incorrect readings that are so subtle the average consumer would never notice anyway.


After reading the article I was under the impression that she just shut off the main inflow valve inside the house and the leak was between the meter and there.
 
2014-01-09 03:47:07 PM

Russ1642: Meter readers read the meter. That's it. They don't know your average use or care. They don't do some analysis and leave a note on your door.


Most utilities hire minimum-wage kids to drive around with a receiver that picks up the readings sent out by the new-fangled elex meters. They don't see the readings at all, nor would know what it was tellin' 'em, if'n they could. The system has a kick-out feature for accounts that are over-using. I see my use as a graph compared to last year on my bill (I suffered a plague of leaks over the last 2 years, until I replumbed it all, so EVERYTHING is less than last year). My town calls as soon as they read it out, and sends a letter to the address of record (beach town...many rentals, summer cabins, crash pads).

If this thread gots ya worried, go look at the meter. They all have something that moves when water is used. Go through the house, making sure all the faucets is off (including outside {!}), the toilets aren't running, and the ice-maker ain't. Then, tell everyone to leave the water alone until you get back. Any movement in the meter is a problem.
 
2014-01-09 03:47:57 PM

macross87: How do you not notice a leak of that magnitude coming from under your house?


We had one a few years ago where the cable company had installed new underground wires and clipped the pipe - several thousand dollars and we never noticed a thing until we got the bill. The ground where it happened was soggy, but we never use that part of the yard. Couldn't see anything above ground on a visual inspection.
 
2014-01-09 03:48:30 PM

Carousel Beast: Satan's Bunny Slippers: Lando Lincoln: Normally one is charged for the amount of water that the city has to process back into drinking water (the stuff that flows down your sewer line). This is why when you're filling a swimming pool you contact the water department so you don't get a giant water bill. So I'm not sure why she would have to pay this bill.

Hm.  Well then Joliet is a hella lot different than Peoria.  No free pool water here, they charge you for what comes in and what goes out, every pint of it.

But a few years back my ex in laws (nice people) were on vacay and some vandals turned on the outside tap on their house.  By the time a neighbor noticed it, lots of damage and water wasted. It was a big lot and of course on the back of the house.  The water company did reduce what should have been their $14,000 (yes, 14 thousand) bill to just under $4,000.  And somehow they got their insurance to pay most of that.  Nope, don't know how they did that.

Probably filed it as a vandalism claim.


That never occurred to me.  You're probably right.  I never questioned the actual how, as at the time I was no longer married to their son, nor did I own a house, so I didn't bother to spend the brain power to do so.  But they were, and still are nice folks, so I'm glad they didn't have to pony up the whole amount for something that wasn't their fault.

Thanks!  :)
 
2014-01-09 03:49:12 PM

dywed88: The Flexecutioner: macross87: How do you not notice a leak of that magnitude coming from under your house?

by being 78 years old and never getting under your house?  not sure what kind of neighborhood you are in but water could easily drain away from the home without you knowing it.

and she cancelled her bill when it became $90 from her previous $30-40.  the $3k was from the time lost between the leak and when the bill was sent.  maybe the $90 was only 4 or 5 days of the leak from the previous month to being a full months worth of that leak on the $3k bill from the cancellation.

and yeah, meter readers dont generally know your previous months bills or expectations but we live in a very tech savvy world where such a thing wouldn't be hard at all to do with apps for all your meter readers in the field.(apartments and condos might be more difficult but not really, imo. how hard would it really be to attach meter numbers to account profiles?)  in the name of good customer service this wouldn't be a difficult thing to tackle.  except that monopolies have no need whatsoever for good customer service.  they only need legal deniability and a city contract.  and extra taxes and fees and rampant inconsistent and incorrect readings that are so subtle the average consumer would never notice anyway.

After reading the article I was under the impression that she just shut off the main inflow valve inside the house and the leak was between the meter and there.


yeah, i reread it.  for me "turned off" meant calling the water company to cancel it. but yeah, she probably had somebody turn the valve.  i wish the article had the cause of the leak.  if it was her cause/fault then it sucks for her but if it was from pipe degradation over time or from some natural event to cause a crack the water company should take care of it.
 
2014-01-09 03:52:43 PM

mainstreet62: What's a "water bill"?

/well water



coworker: 'Ted ,how much is your water/sewer bill ?  Mine went up again.'
me:           'You should ask Sally,  I don't get a bill.  I have free water/ sewer'
coworker: 'Seriously you ***hole, how much is your bill?'
me:           'Seriously, ask sally.   Mine is free.  I  pump water out of the ground.  You know, a well.'
coworker: 'Why won't you tell me how much your bill is??.  You are such an ***. '
me:           'A well is a hole in the ground and there is a pump that pumps water into your house'
me:           'Sewage goes into my septic tank.    I pay nothing to the city or township.'
coworker  ' You expect me to believe that??.   I'm not dumb.  I just want to know your rate.'
coworker  ' I'm going to ask sally... I don't know why you won't tell me what your bill is. D1ck!!'
 
2014-01-09 03:52:52 PM
This happened to my step-father and mother, who, admittedly, live in a 12,000 square foot museum with a massive yard. One of the pipes for the underground sprinkler system broke and started pumping water out underground. No evidence up top, no wet grass, no marshy areas, just a $12,000 water bill one month. Now, my folks can afford it, but they fought it and successfully had it reduced to about $2500 once everything was said and done. A big part of the reduction (about 50%) came from the elimination of the sewer part of the bill, which is based on water use (X gallons used = X gallons into sewers), and obviously that wasn't the case here. The repairs to the pipe cost another $4500 or so, plus the major dig in the back yard that really wrecked the place. Anyway, they really had no evidence of it happening until the bill came. There was no sound of running water, and in their area, the water meters are underground near the street, so they're not accessible by the homeowners. They had a regular water bill one month, then BAM! $12,000.

A few years later, I had the pipe between the water main and my own house break. I knew instantly that it had happened because we had very low water pressure, so I didn't get a huge water bill because we shut it off right away (well, my bill was $700 instead of $80, which goes to show you how much water can be lost in a VERY short period of time). I did get a huge plumber's bill and a destroyed front yard, but that's a separate story. If I hadn't been home it could have wreaked real havoc.

It can and does happen. A leaky pipe, never mind one gushing at full bore, can spill A LOT of water in a very short period of time. Just a drippy faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water in a year. It adds up.

/Yeah, yeah, rich people problems
//My step-father's money is not my money
 
2014-01-09 03:54:16 PM

Well I use Mac/Linux...: Instead I got billed for $710, which they just took out of my account (Was enrolled in auto pay, not anymore though)


This is why you never allow access (pull payment) for direct payments. Ever.

Always push payments. It's free with my bank and 90% of the payments are EFT with no fees, if they have to send a check, it's free.
 
2014-01-09 03:55:44 PM

The Flexecutioner: dywed88: The Flexecutioner: macross87: How do you not notice a leak of that magnitude coming from under your house?

by being 78 years old and never getting under your house?  not sure what kind of neighborhood you are in but water could easily drain away from the home without you knowing it.

and she cancelled her bill when it became $90 from her previous $30-40.  the $3k was from the time lost between the leak and when the bill was sent.  maybe the $90 was only 4 or 5 days of the leak from the previous month to being a full months worth of that leak on the $3k bill from the cancellation.

and yeah, meter readers dont generally know your previous months bills or expectations but we live in a very tech savvy world where such a thing wouldn't be hard at all to do with apps for all your meter readers in the field.(apartments and condos might be more difficult but not really, imo. how hard would it really be to attach meter numbers to account profiles?)  in the name of good customer service this wouldn't be a difficult thing to tackle.  except that monopolies have no need whatsoever for good customer service.  they only need legal deniability and a city contract.  and extra taxes and fees and rampant inconsistent and incorrect readings that are so subtle the average consumer would never notice anyway.

After reading the article I was under the impression that she just shut off the main inflow valve inside the house and the leak was between the meter and there.

yeah, i reread it.  for me "turned off" meant calling the water company to cancel it. but yeah, she probably had somebody turn the valve.  i wish the article had the cause of the leak.  if it was her cause/fault then it sucks for her but if it was from pipe degradation over time or from some natural event to cause a crack the water company should take care of it.


There is a point in the line, usually either where it splits from the main line, enters your property, or at the meter.

Anything after that you are responsible for. Regular, maintenance diasaster, etc. That pipe would have been put in by the builder (not the city) and has nothing to do with the city. Unless the city did something to cause the leak (someone noted above that the city screwed up replacing the meter).
 
2014-01-09 03:57:28 PM

soporific: There was a Law & Order episode about this kind of thing years ago. Apparently a meter reader mistakenly wrote down the wrong numbers and an electronics store had something like a $50,000 water bill. So one of the owners tried to shoot the guy, wound up killing some important official instead, and this led to a huge thing that involved homeland security. All because a meter reader switched two numbers and wouldn't admit his mistake.


Homeland security was involved because the proprietor of the store was selling "game consoles" (probably PS2s given the age of the episode) to a toy store in Algeria when there was this hysteria that a PS2 could launch missiles or crack computer codes.  The investigation in the episode was mostly centered around the murder with the family putting up a necessity defense with that douchebag Dennis Miller look-alike lawyer.

/Law and Order expert
//Fark SVU
 
2014-01-09 03:58:00 PM
That's why I buy all my water by the acre-foot. Pennies on the dollar, folks, pennies on the dollar.
 
2014-01-09 04:13:03 PM

Lando Lincoln: Normally one is charged for the amount of water that the city has to process back into drinking water (the stuff that flows down your sewer line). This is why when you're filling a swimming pool you contact the water department so you don't get a giant water bill. So I'm not sure why she would have to pay this bill.


I live in the country and we all have wells.
Nevertheless, pool owners will pay to have water hauled to fill their pools. I asked a friend about that, because I have a lot of friends with pools, and he said, if they live were I live, and are on town water, it's cheaper to have it hauled. And you can tell them to park the truck in the sun and let it heat up for a day, too.
 
2014-01-09 04:13:20 PM

Lando Lincoln: Normally one is charged for the amount of water that the city has to process back into drinking water (the stuff that flows down your sewer line). This is why when you're filling a swimming pool you contact the water department so you don't get a giant water bill. So I'm not sure why she would have to pay this bill.


Here in AZ it's two separate charges. A "per thousand gallon" rate and a sewer rate. Our town actually recommended pumping it into the street (after getting chemical levels as low as possible) and letting it get reclaimed in that system instead - different processing as gray water than as black.
 
2014-01-09 04:17:54 PM

The Flexecutioner: dywed88: The Flexecutioner: macross87: How do you not notice a leak of that magnitude coming from under your house?

yeah, i reread it.  for me "turned off" meant calling the water company to cancel it. but yeah, she probably had somebody turn the valve.  i wish the article had the cause of the leak.  if it was her cause/fault then it sucks for her but if it was from pipe degradation over time or from some natural event to cause a crack the water company should take care of it.


There is usually two, separate valves to shut off water to your house:

1) The valve under the edge of the house that shuts off the plumbing in the structure. This usually doesn't turn off the outside stuff, so be careful, AND

2)The valve at the meter, which stops the water from flowing onto your properrty. It is a 90° turn (inline is on, across is off).

#2 is prolly the valve you should remember. It is just a solid bar on the top that you can turn with a Cresent wrench, a spanner, or a t-bar thingy made for it (which is also fits natural gas valves: wink, wink)
 
2014-01-09 04:21:04 PM

buzzcut73: Holy crap, where do you live that water is $7 per 1000? I live in the middle of a desert and I pay 0.70/1000 for the first 3 and $1.89 after that.


You pay $0.70 per thousand gallons? I just checked my last bill (two bedroom apartment in Maryland/suburban DC), and last cycle we used 2400 gallons at $8/1000. That's a single rate for water plus sewer.
 
2014-01-09 04:24:02 PM

show me: nekom: and until the put in the prison a decade or so ago nobody had sewage at all.

Sounds like a whole lotta constipated people to me.


Out door out houses .
 
2014-01-09 04:25:01 PM

buzzcut73: Using my city's water rates (.70 per 1000 for the first 3000 gallons, 1.89 per thousand after that) this lady got billed for 1,589,000 gallons. Can a typical residential line even have that flow out of it in the course of a month?


Not at local rates.  They top out at $4.58/1000 gallons.
 
2014-01-09 04:26:31 PM

lohphat: Well I use Mac/Linux...: Instead I got billed for $710, which they just took out of my account (Was enrolled in auto pay, not anymore though)

This is why you never allow access (pull payment) for direct payments. Ever.

Always push payments. It's free with my bank and 90% of the payments are EFT with no fees, if they have to send a check, it's free.


Agreed, automatic payments are the easiest way to get burned by overdrafts.

I pay my utility bills online using EFT, after receiving the email notifications from the utility companies. There is no way I'm going to allow them to take money from my account without going through me first.
 
2014-01-09 04:32:32 PM
This just sucks and could be fixed if the utility company would graciously waive it....but Im thinking they would flay the old woman alive (to save on the cost of killing her) and auctioning off her pelt to underwrite what she owes.....Its the PRINCIPLE of the matter
i1184.photobucket.com
 
2014-01-09 04:32:58 PM
With all that leaking water, you know what her crotch tastes like?
Depends.
 
2014-01-09 04:42:28 PM

nekom: You're 78 years old, just file chapter 7 and viola, all gone.


She probably has some assets. You can't just file bankruptcy and expect to hold on to your savings.
 
2014-01-09 04:49:38 PM

The Southern Logic Company: soporific: There was a Law & Order episode about this kind of thing years ago. Apparently a meter reader mistakenly wrote down the wrong numbers and an electronics store had something like a $50,000 water bill. So one of the owners tried to shoot the guy, wound up killing some important official instead, and this led to a huge thing that involved homeland security. All because a meter reader switched two numbers and wouldn't admit his mistake.

Homeland security was involved because the proprietor of the store was selling "game consoles" (probably PS2s given the age of the episode) to a toy store in Algeria when there was this hysteria that a PS2 could launch missiles or crack computer codes.  The investigation in the episode was mostly centered around the murder with the family putting up a necessity defense with that douchebag Dennis Miller look-alike lawyer.

/Law and Order expert
//Fark SVU


DUN DUN!!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0629206/
 
2014-01-09 04:50:41 PM

JerkStore: This happened to my step-father and mother, who, admittedly, live in a 12,000 square foot museum with a massive yard. One of the pipes for the underground sprinkler system broke and started pumping water out underground. No evidence up top, no wet grass, no marshy areas, just a $12,000 water bill one month. Now, my folks can afford it, but they fought it and successfully had it reduced to about $2500 once everything was said and done. A big part of the reduction (about 50%) came from the elimination of the sewer part of the bill, which is based on water use (X gallons used = X gallons into sewers), and obviously that wasn't the case here. The repairs to the pipe cost another $4500 or so, plus the major dig in the back yard that really wrecked the place. Anyway, they really had no evidence of it happening until the bill came. There was no sound of running water, and in their area, the water meters are underground near the street, so they're not accessible by the homeowners. They had a regular water bill one month, then BAM! $12,000.

A few years later, I had the pipe between the water main and my own house break. I knew instantly that it had happened because we had very low water pressure, so I didn't get a huge water bill because we shut it off right away (well, my bill was $700 instead of $80, which goes to show you how much water can be lost in a VERY short period of time). I did get a huge plumber's bill and a destroyed front yard, but that's a separate story. If I hadn't been home it could have wreaked real havoc.

It can and does happen. A leaky pipe, never mind one gushing at full bore, can spill A LOT of water in a very short period of time. Just a drippy faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water in a year. It adds up.

/Yeah, yeah, rich people problems
//My step-father's money is not my money


You know, if you weren't humble bragging and negging yourself at the same time it would be a better story. You could either cut the haw haw we're rich biatch vibe and mention only the size of the bills, or you could give it a droopy dog tone like at the end throughout for a kind of comedic spin. And you're telling a story. "That's another story." is an ending, not a segueway. Observe:

This happened to my step-father and mother, who, admittedly, live in a larger house. One of the pipes for the underground sprinkler system broke and started pumping water out underground. No evidence up top, no wet grass, no marshy areas, just a $12,000 water bill one month. They fought it and successfully had it reduced to about $2500 once everything was said and done. A big part of the reduction (about 50%) came from the elimination of the sewer part of the bill, which is based on water use (X gallons used = X gallons into sewers), and obviously that wasn't the case here. The repairs to the pipe cost another $4500 or so, plus the major dig in the back yard that really wrecked the place. Anyway, they really had no evidence of it happening until the bill came. There was no sound of running water, and in their area, the water meters are underground near the street, so they're not accessible by the homeowners. They had a regular water bill one month, then BAM! $12,000.

A few years later, I had the pipe between the water main and my own house break. I knew instantly that it had happened because we had very low water pressure, so I didn't get a huge water bill because we shut it off right away (well, my bill was $700 instead of $80, which goes to show you how much water can be lost in a VERY short period of time). I got a huge plumber's bill and a destroyed front yard, but if I hadn't been home it could have wreaked real havoc.

It can and does happen. A leaky pipe, never mind one gushing at full bore, can spill A LOT of water in a very short period of time. Just a drippy faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water in a year. It adds up. Also don't flush m-80s, but that's a separate story. . . .


 
2014-01-09 04:51:09 PM

Loreweaver: lohphat: Well I use Mac/Linux...: Instead I got billed for $710, which they just took out of my account (Was enrolled in auto pay, not anymore though)

This is why you never allow access (pull payment) for direct payments. Ever.

Always push payments. It's free with my bank and 90% of the payments are EFT with no fees, if they have to send a check, it's free.

Agreed, automatic payments are the easiest way to get burned by overdrafts.

I pay my utility bills online using EFT, after receiving the email notifications from the utility companies. There is no way I'm going to allow them to take money from my account without going through me first.


I think you're both advocating the same thing. I get my bill, then go to the bank's website, enter amount and check the box for the utility company. I don't ever go to the utility's site and let them withdraw from my account.

As far as my water rates go, I guess I'm getting a deal compared to some people. That, BTW, is water only. Sewer is a separate line item that is billed at $2.40 per thousand, but they base it on your average winter use. That has its ups and downs though, because if you haven't been in your particular house for a winter yet, they use a neighborhood average until they redo the average (Jan and Feb) for your address. So right now, I'm paying for 6k/month sewer use on 3k gallons of water use.

That will be fixed next month, but I've been stuck with it since August.
 
2014-01-09 05:15:06 PM

soporific: There was a Law & Order episode about this kind of thing years ago. Apparently a meter reader mistakenly wrote down the wrong numbers and an electronics store had something like a $50,000 water bill. So one of the owners tried to shoot the guy, wound up killing some important official instead, and this led to a huge thing that involved homeland security. All because a meter reader switched two numbers and wouldn't admit his mistake.


I banged Sam Waterson's niece back in HS.  Erin was pretty hot, had this cute Boston accent.

/cool story bro
 
2014-01-09 05:22:51 PM

The Flexecutioner: and yeah, meter readers dont generally know your previous months bills or expectations but we live in a very tech savvy world where such a thing wouldn't be hard at all to do with apps for all your meter readers in the field.(apartments and condos might be more difficult but not really, imo. how hard would it really be to attach meter numbers to account profiles?) in the name of good customer service this wouldn't be a difficult thing to tackle. except that monopolies have no need whatsoever for good customer service. they only need legal deniability and a city contract. and extra taxes and fees and rampant inconsistent and incorrect readings that are so subtle the average consumer would never notice anyway.


Lots of meter reading is done wirelessly anyway. My condo had a wireless adapter tacked on to the meter. The nice box that held the meter and the water shutoff valve now has the transciever/antenna sticking up out of the top of the box and the lid doesn't sit on the box anymore.

There is no human intervention in reading these meters. You just drive around in a truck or walk around the neighborhood with an antenna and read the meters. The data gets dumped into the accounting system.
 
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