More water bill headaches

Thanks for publishing the article ‘$2,300 water bill ‘bloody crazy’,’ on 20 February.

The article describes my remarkably similar experience with the Water Authority. In my case my bill was for nearly $2,000 for a period where I was the only one at home, and only for two weeks of that period. In my letter of complaint to the Water Authority I stated that I did not believe that it was ever possible to use the amount of water claimed and I asked for any reasonable explanation from the authority for my exceptionally high bill for such a short time period. The response I received was less than satisfactory and stated. It read:

‘Your request for a plausible explanation of the high water bill is impossible to explain due to the many incidents that can happen within a person’s home. As stated in the law, the Water Authority can only rely on the meter as the means of obtaining an accurate reading as to the water consumed by each household.’

Suffice to say that when they sent the disconnection threat two days after receiving my complaint it was clear that all they wanted was my money. To date I have never had a formal response to my written complaint from any part of the management of WAC – a situation I find wholly unsatisfactory and unprofessional.

The Authority seems to have adopted a policy of burying their heads in the sand when faced with complaining customers. In spite of extensive research, I know of no other civilised country where life-preserving water supplies can be disconnected so readily for missing a payment – in one instance they actually did this to us while we were at home and the missed payment was a fault of their billing system.

There is a stubborn disregard for human safety and dignity, and no apparent consideration of the use of warning letters, restricted flow valves, or other less drastic measures available to the Authority. In the UK the legislation specifically prohibits disconnection of domestic users, even for non-payment.

I have been told by several friends already this morning that this problem is more widespread than one might imagine. I lend my voice to those who wish to make a noise about this.

Ben Webster

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