City fixes faulty water meter - still insists customer pay huge water bill

KPRC 2 ‘DRAINED’ Investigation helps people with Houston water bill issues

A Houston water customer called KPRC 2 Investigates when she said the city stuck her with a $2,400 water bill caused by its faulty equipment. It’s a six-month ordeal that mentally ‘DRAINED’ this Kingwood homeowner. Investigator Amy Davis is getting answers and explains what you can do if something similar happens to you.

KPRC 2 ‘DRAINED’ Investigation helps homeowner fighting high water bill for months

Jackie Byers average water usage is about 6,000 gallons a month. She was shocked when her March (2023) bill arrived showing she used 55,000 gallons.

55,000 gallons of water and a bill for $1,445.

Jackie Byers immediately called the city to dispute the bill. No one came out to check her meter. Then in April, the city charged her another $1,024 for 37,000 gallons of water.

“I actually had a plumber come out twice. $500 later on my expense I do not have a leak. I continued to call the city to ask- there must be something wrong with your equipment because there’s nothing wrong on my end,” explains Byers.

Finally, on May 11, a Public Works employee came and replaced her meter register, electronic reading device, and a wire for the sensor. Immediately, her usage returned to normal.

KPRC 2 'DRAINED' Investigation gets answers for homeowner dealing with huge water bill apparently caused by a faulty meter. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

The city told Byers to request an exceptional circumstances bill adjustment which she did. But then they told her instead of $2,477.81, they would reduce the bill to $1,319.05. They told Byers if she didn’t like it her only recourse was to schedule an administrative hearing.

We wanted to know why she has to pay a bill for what seemed like a city meter issue

When she reached out to KPRC 2 Investigates we reviewed her account and asked the city to explain why Byers had to pay anything for an irregular read that seems to have been corrected when the city replaced its own equipment. Without responding to us the city adjusted her bill this time reducing her bill for those two months from $1,319 to $363, closer to her average usage.

“The policies of the city water department should change in how they deal with customers. Everything is left on us to call back every 30 days,” said Byers.

RELATED: How to fight a high water bill

Byers said her advice to anyone else who gets an unusually high bill is to keep a journal marking the date of every phone call to the city, who you speak with and what they tell you. She says she also would have recorded her conversation with the meter technician who replaced the parts on her meter when he told her the repairs would fix the high reads.

Byers’ bill adjustment brings the total amount we have saved Houston water customers to $47,742.01!

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.