Thursday, August 16, 2012
Getting hosed by DEP water bills
Hello Public Advocate,
I've been appealing a water bill that is simply wrong. We've had multiple plumbers submit the proper documentation clearing the property of leaks (they would have to be large, obvious, pooling leaks to make 2 different $20k+ monthly charges, mind you, as we do not an industrial property but 3-story 15-ft wide storefront with 2 apts overhead) to the water department but to no avail. We have replaced all toilets to low-water usage and installed special low-flow fixtures.
I understand that the automatic water meters have had problems in other cities, according the the Public Advocate himself. I imagine many people have this problem but with the DEP or Water Board threatening either cutoff or liens against their businesses or homes, many simply concede to the DEP or Water Board's "forgiveness" of the charges. I wonder what is it that we the payers should be forgived for, first, and second, how would they not enter a collection process if the charges were true?
That said, I understand that your department had a "public hearing" on August 9th - I understand this only because I googled it and saw a NY Times article, not because the event was well-announced - and that it was attended by only nine people. I wonder what the real number of misreported water usage is and I wonder what legal action it would take to recoup what's been lost.
Photo from the NY Times