Harvey victim and cancer survivor hit with $16,000 water bill from city of Houston

HOUSTON – Nelda Frels, 88, has survived a bout with lymphoma and she made it through the flooding after Hurricane Harvey. But she says a water bill from the city of Houston is causing her stress nearly beyond measure. 

It's a bill for $16,557.66.

"Well I was shocked," says Nelda, recalling when she first saw the bill.  "I don't even have a swimming pool."

Nelda's son John has been looking into the problem but so far -- they say -- no one's been able to tell them why the bill is so high.

"They said, 'Well, we're trying to take care of it,' Nelda says of her interactions with the city.  "But do they realize the stress I'm going through?"

Her son is just as frustrated.

"I keep trying to explain to them, when your 88-year-old mother opens up a bill and sees a figure like that, it's going to stress them out whether it's real or not," he says.  

Nelda's home of 38 years in the Fleetwood neighborhood near Memorial was seriously damaged by the flooding and other than repair work -- no one has been in the house to use the water.  Certainly not $16,000 worth of water.

"I don't understand it," says Nelda.  "How could they make such an error? And we can't even live there."

Channel 2 reached out to the city regarding this particular story but at this time have not received a response.

We recently looked into a similar story and in that instance the city told us about 6,000 customers had been charged double on their water bills.  We were told then that the mayor was working with the City Council and public works to help the affected customers and eligible accounts were being placed on hold.

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