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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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23646 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2014 at 2:32 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-09 05:24:49 PM  
DarthBart:  Not free water, but water without the added surcharge of sewer.   I was going to fill my pool and the water company said "Take a reading before and after you fill the pool and let us know" so they didn't charge me for 45Kgal of water + 45Kgal of sewer, just 45Kgal of water.

In Wisconsin, or at least the various cities I've lived in, they take your water usage for January to March, and you pay the sewer rate for the entire year based on that.  The theory is that during the dead of winter you're not washing your car, watering the lawn, or filling any pools.
 
2014-01-09 05:41:15 PM  

Misch: 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.


i'll just presume this isn't standard everywhere.  maybe a bigger city thing?  Rogersville, TN has a pop of 5k or so.  Im not sure if they are so up to date but maybe they are.
 
2014-01-09 05:55:28 PM  
If I had to bet, I'd be willing to bet that the water company isn't coming anywhere close to reading the meter once a month.

She had a small leak and when they finally got around to reading her meter and noticing the discrepancy between her historical average use and the actual meter reading, there had been plenty of time for the difference to be huge..
 
2014-01-09 06:21:54 PM  
$3000 is a princely sum for water in Persia.
 
2014-01-09 07:04:16 PM  

BullBearMS: If I had to bet, I'd be willing to bet that the water company isn't coming anywhere close to reading the meter once a month.

She had a small leak and when they finally got around to reading her meter and noticing the discrepancy between her historical average use and the actual meter reading, there had been plenty of time for the difference to be huge..


That would make sense, except for the fact that she already had an unusually high (2-3 times greater than normal) water bill the month before which caused her to shut it off. If they did not read the meter you should only get significantly abnormal bills in the months where the meter is read.

Now, there was likely a delay between the reading and billing for that month. If the loss was as a result of that I could support her, and I can support receiving some assistance her for the leak between the meter reading date and the date of receiving the $4k bill because they really should inform her of such high usage immediately after reading the meter.

However I interpret the article as she received the prior bill and truned off the main line inside the house, but the leak was between the meter and valve she closed in the house, so informing her of the prvious month's slightly increased bill earlier wouldn't have matterred.

Now we can get into negotiation of a settlement (commonly done for huge utility, phone, etc bills), but we don't have nearly enough information to say much on that topic.
 
2014-01-09 07:08:48 PM  
Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of the positives of living in an apartment. I don't pay for water, heat, garbage removal, lawn upkeep, or outside lighting.

My fiancee and I will will probably get a house when we make things official and legal, but for now I'm enjoying not having to deal with all the little extra expenses.
 
2014-01-09 07:10:40 PM  
late to the party, but my water line is dripping just before the meter and I haven't called the water company because farm them, that's why. OK, I just forgot to call them, it's a property we're building on and we shut down the utilities when we're away. I'll call first thing tomorrow. Unless I forget./not 78
 
2014-01-09 07:22:01 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.


I don't have a meter so I'm guessing anywhere in my yard.
 
2014-01-09 08:09:09 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?


Think you got that cube size wrong. Closer to 37 feet on a side.
 
2014-01-09 08:14:41 PM  

dywed88: However I interpret the article as she received the prior bill and truned off the main line inside the house, but the leak was between the meter and valve she closed in the house, so informing her of the prvious month's slightly increased bill earlier wouldn't have matterred.


Yeah, I think this is what happened.  It would be pretty hard to have a big leak without it being very obvious unless it was underground.
 
2014-01-09 09:20:20 PM  

skozlaw: BizarreMan: How do you have that much water leak and not know immediately?

If it leaked under my crawlspace I probably wouldn't know. I don't exactly spend a lot of time under there and the drainage on my property is probably good enough that a fairly serious leak could go undetected for quite some time if it were in the right (or wrong) place.

Hell, the seal on my kitchen sink handle went and I didn't notice that it was leaking down the inside of the handle and into the cupboard below the sink for a couple days when the musty smell tipped me off, and I'm in my kitchen every day. Just not under the sink very often.


Just had a similar problem. Seal from the drain to the p-trap had a small dripping leak. Literally had never been under the sink since i moved in..noticed a smelll and couldn't pin point it until i cleaned literally everything and realized it smelled most after using the sink. was soaking into the wood of the cabinet. no idea how long it was leaking for
 
2014-01-09 09:26:01 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.


Do they run off the beginning bit of water first? Because the stuff that comes out of a main first is nastyyyyy
 
2014-01-09 09:32:06 PM  

detroitdoesntsuckthatbad: 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


...that actually is a pretty cool story bro

/fistbump
 
2014-01-09 10:02:40 PM  
For a while last year we were being notified we were using over 4k gallons/day. Even though we live in a desert, where is it going/  hAd aplumber come out, dug up the lines by the meter, and found nothing. Hooked a flow meterh  hooked up for a couple days, found nothing odd. Called shenanigans on the utility. what the utility was claiming was more water usage than the 3 days it took to fill my pool, a 32 foot one.
 
2014-01-09 10:03:19 PM  

sn68f: late to the party, but my water line is dripping just before the meter and I haven't called the water company because farm them, that's why. OK, I just forgot to call them, it's a property we're building on and we shut down the utilities when we're away. I'll call first thing tomorrow. Unless I forget./not 78


And do you know what happens when they losing water that goes unbilled for, they raise your rates and you still pay for it.  We've had people move out of our house, and we quit watering the lawn all the time during the summer to no avail.  The bill keeps going up, why, because the city's pipes are falling apart and water it disappearing before it reaches a meter.  Someone still has to pay for it.  Just be glad the water company isn't allowed to profit.
 
2014-01-09 10:22:29 PM  

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


I had a leak that spewed 25,000 gallons of water over the span of three days and I only noticed it because I happened to be outside, near it, in the wee quiet hours. I could barely hear it and it didn't much alter my water pressure inside.

The soil above the leak, under my front porch, had a damp spot the size of a saucer and that was it. And that's red georgia soil, not known for its drainage.

If I had a pipe burst on a certain side of my house I might not notice until the next bill because it would drain off into a creek.
 
2014-01-09 10:25:47 PM  

dywed88: BullBearMS: If I had to bet, I'd be willing to bet that the water company isn't coming anywhere close to reading the meter once a month.

She had a small leak and when they finally got around to reading her meter and noticing the discrepancy between her historical average use and the actual meter reading, there had been plenty of time for the difference to be huge..

That would make sense, except for the fact that she already had an unusually high (2-3 times greater than normal) water bill the month before which caused her to shut it off. If they did not read the meter you should only get significantly abnormal bills in the months where the meter is read.


They noticed the huge discrepancy between the estimated usage and the meter reading a month before but only put a small portion of that amount on last months bill.

That way they hope you don't notice what a bad job they are doing of reading meters. Especially if your bill includes a charge for reading your meter, which they aren't bothering to do.

.
 
2014-01-09 11:37:22 PM  
Hey, if you live in TN and are so high falutin that you need yer terlet water imported frum Persia, you dezerve to pay $3000 for it.

/read the farking article. Worst written piece of sh*t ever.
 
2014-01-10 12:27:32 AM  

taliesinwi: DarthBart:  Not free water, but water without the added surcharge of sewer.   I was going to fill my pool and the water company said "Take a reading before and after you fill the pool and let us know" so they didn't charge me for 45Kgal of water + 45Kgal of sewer, just 45Kgal of water.

In Wisconsin, or at least the various cities I've lived in, they take your water usage for January to March, and you pay the sewer rate for the entire year based on that.  The theory is that during the dead of winter you're not washing your car, watering the lawn, or filling any pools.


My dad had a weird set up in his house in Wisconsin.  He had a well but had city sewer.  The well had a meter on it and they'd bill him for for sewer based on the water the well meter measured.

And the wellhead & pressure tank were in the basement, which was completely foreign to me not living in an environment where it gets that bloody cold.
 
2014-01-10 12:56:47 AM  
That happened to a coworker. There was a leak under their house and they didn't know until they got a $1200 + water bill. I know it was a mess for them to get the pipe repaired. I think their homeowner's insurance may have covered most of the damage. It still wasn't cheap.
 
2014-01-10 01:01:33 AM  

Ex-Texan: For a while last year we were being notified we were using over 4k gallons/day. Even though we live in a desert, where is it going/  hAd aplumber come out, dug up the lines by the meter, and found nothing.


Dumb question, but was the meter showing the usage?   Some time back I had a leak in the sprinkler system that was dumping a lot of water, but before I called anyone I read the meter, then went back out an hour later and read it again to verify the problem before doing anything.  Unfortunately in my case there actually was a leak, and then the landlord decided to be a dick about getting it fixed.
 
2014-01-10 01:05:50 AM  

lack of warmth: Just be glad the water company isn't allowed to profit.


Ahahahahahhahahahahaa.

Wait, you're serious? Let me laugh harder.

AHAHHAHAHAHHAHA

We've privatized that too!
 
2014-01-10 02:54:08 AM  

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.


Some do.  A couple years ago, I got a call from the water company because my meter read had gone from its average of 2 units per billing period to 35 units.  "We have you listed as an out-of-town owner and the usage is far higher than normal so we think there may be a water leak."  I had a friend go shut off the water and found the water leak when I came back.

/CSB
 
2014-01-10 08:05:00 AM  
I haven't read the thread at all, so sorry if this has been mentioned.

You know those really strong rare earth magnets?

They are strong enough to stop the meter from ticking over if you place one on them ( Well, they are strong enough on my water meter, YMMV)
 
2014-01-10 12:41:00 PM  
I'm glad that I live in a place where water is virtually too cheap to meter. All of the single-family residences around here pay a flat tax that comes out to about $30-$50 a month, depending on number of rooms and bathrooms. That includes a sewer charge.
 
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