High Water-Sewer Bills: A Lesson for Every Property Owner

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One Rossville water and sewer customer got bills for service that went through the roof.

They came from something she had no control over, and it's a situation that you can learn from.

Mrs. Evans pays her 30-to-40 dollar water bill to Tennessee-American Water. "I pay my water bill when I get my income every month," she says.

Tennessee-American then sends her water usage to the city of Rossville, which uses a separate company to bill her about 40 to 50 dollars a month for sewer usage.

Imagine her shock when she got a water bill back in January for 221 dollars. The sewer bill was even worse. 758 dollars and 94 cents. "I said 'oh my God.. that's going to cut into my grocery money," Mrs. Evans says.

She says she already paid 50 dollars on the water bill, and more than 360 dollars on the sewer bill. Come to find out the problem with her water and sewer bills was not a leaky pipe or leaky commode.

It was a problem that you would least expect.. a faulty water meter.

Although water was going through it, the meter wasn't registering it. "They told me that I should read my water meter every month," says Mrs. Evans. "Well I can't even raise that lid out out that's in the ground to see it."

Daphne Kirksey with Tennessee-American Water tells us if no water use is read, customers are billed the monthly base amount of 13-dollars and 96 cents. Her meter wasn't working for a year-- so multiply that by 12 months and you get her bill of 221 dollars plus tax.

When Rossville received that amount, their company billed her almost 900 dollars for sewer service. The water company finally noticed her meter wasn't registering-- and adjusted her bill. "Tennessee-American did a corrected bill and lowered the amount of consumption over that year period by about half," says Ruby Irigoyen with Enco Utility Services, the company that does the sewer billing for the city of Rossville, "and then they sent to us those corrected reads so that we could also do a corrected bill."

But that adjustment only came after Mrs. Evans already paid hundreds of dollars through payment plans. She was happy to hear that she has a $54 dollar credit on her sewer bill, and a $63 dollar credit on her water bill.

This situation is totally preventable. If Mrs. Evans had kept her water and sewer bills and compared the amount from month to month, she would have seen back last year that the bills had changed a lot.

Her advice to you, is.. don't just pay a bill every month without looking at it. Watch them closely, and if you notice that it's different from normal, call the company right away and question it.

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