A water customer faces a pricey bill almost 150 times the usual rate

When a woman in Escondido, Calif., received a $16,000 water bill for roughly 30 days worth of service from December 2012 to January 2013, she knew something wasn’t right.

According to an article on the San Diego NBC affiliate website, Margaret Kreusser said her bills are normally around $115 for about 150 gallons of water used per day. The recent bill is almost 150 times that.

“It’s absolutely preposterous,” said George Newman, a water works expert working with the Utility Consumers’ Action Network who was quoted in the story. The local utility claimed Kreusser’s property must have had a leak that averaged more than 87,000 gallons of water a day. Newman said that amount of water usage would not have gone unnoticed.

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However, there’s no evidence of any leaks such as pooling water or excess groundswell to suggest that Kreusser used 3,625 gallons of water an hour or 60 gallons a minute. No information was provided as to whether or not the water utility had a leak detection program in effect that could have prevented this if a leak was the source.

Local water experts with the consumer group found no logical reason the bill would be so high. And with lack of evidence for the cause of the spike, Kreusser is taking matters into her own hands and suing the city.

The Escondido water utility could have been better prepared — and even prevented — a situation like this if it had a leak detection program. If your utility is facing potential water usage concerns, perhaps it’s time to implement a leak detection program to locate, stop and prevent leaks.

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Check out these products for some solutions: www.mswmag.com/editorial/2012/11/product_focus.


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