We recently noticed Austin Energy was reporting a huge spike in our water usage. Lacking any evidence of a leak, we reached out to our utility company, and was told that our only recourse was to take the matter to the city council. So I sent an e-mail to our neighborhood list to see if anyone else had seen Unexplained Monthly Water Billing Discrepancies (UMWBD). Several neighbors have reported suspicious spikes.
March 10, 2014 Update:
I spent some quality time with 13 months of COA bills today, and noticed that for 11 months, the “gallons used” shown under the bar chart on the bills were nice round numbers (3100, or 5500 or 5800), and exactly matched the “total consumption in gallons” in the detailed section to the right of the chart.
But in January, gallons used under the chart was 18,583 and total consumption was 24,100.
And in February, gallons used was 6,508 and consumption was 2,808.
Another neighbor posted the link to a recent KXAN story regarding mistakes by meter readers leading to overbilling:
AUSTIN (KXAN) – Hundreds of Austin Water customers are being charged for water they did not use. A KXAN investigation revealed 550 documented cases of overbilled customers in 2012. The majority of those cases are due to incorrectly read water meter.
If you have an UMWBD, send me a snapshot of the water usage chart, and your general location, like those below, and I’ll post it here.