Woman served with $16,000 water bill and the utility company insists she pay it

A California woman has been ordered to pay a $16,000 water bill for roughly a month’s worth of service, and the utility billing department said her water rate jumped to more than 87,000 gallons a day and told her she needed to pay up. Margaret Kreusser said she usually pays about $115 a month.











According to NBC San Diego, the utility company said Kreusser must have had a leak on her property that averaged more than 87,000 gallons of water a day, but, that amount of water breaks down to more than 3,000 gallons an hour, 60 gallons a minute and one gallon a second. It’s essentially like dumping out three swimming pools onto Kreusser’s property every day.

Kreusser is a single woman, so it’s impossible for her to use so much water.

George Newman, a water works expert  disagrees with the utility company, “That would blast out of the ground like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “It might go 75, 80 feet high. There would be a sinkhole there you could put half a dozen busses in.”

Since then, the city has  replaced the meter, and Kreusser has added new water pipes, and she says her water rate is back to normal, but the city said she still owes the $16,000. So now Kreusser is suing the city for more than $300,000.

The director at the Escondido Utility Billing Department will not comment because the case is going to court.

The utility company offered to lower Kreusser’s bill to $8,000. She said no.

 Watch courtesy of NBC San Diego:


And you thought you had a bad day.

H/T: Raw Story.


* FON Admin Note: I’m curious, how much do you pay for utilities and if you don’t mind provide the state you live in.

  • wolfendenpackleader

    I hope she holds her ground. This is clearly an abuse of power from the water department. All they need to do is look at her past billing and the new meter. Or they can tale the last 12 months bills add them together and divide by 12 to find the average and bill her for that. Anything else would be illegal.

    I had my consumers power bill charge me for over 200 cu.ft. of gas one month. I went and read the meter which has 4 dials on it, the 1st on the left you read the numbers counterclockwise, 2nd read the numbers clockwise, 3rd counterclockwise and 4th clockwise. A very stupid and hard and inefficient way to read a meter. They were off by 220 cu.ft of gas. Plus the bill was for the month of May and it was in the 80’s and 90’s. Do these utility companies think we are really that stupid ?

    • http://comgen.blogspot.com/ ComGen

      ” said she usually pays about $115 a month ” , I find that to be alarming. Both my homes Maine and in NC I don’t recall paying anything close to that….normally between $15-35.00 depending on how much I water the yard / garden, wash vehicles, etc. Do some of you live where water utility bills are on average this much?

      • wolfendenpackleader

        ComGen. I live in Flint, Michigan. Our city has been taken over by our Governors Emergency Managers. They raised the water rates over 110% in an 11 month period of time. They are talking about raising it again. They also doubled our property taxes, but like Mitt Romney did, they call them fees and not taxes, even though they are in the property tax bills. They are still taxes. The housing values down big time.

        When I first moved into my house I paid $5.55 for 3 months of unlimited water use. Then somewhere in the 80’s they went to billing every other month. My bills were about $21 for 3-4 cu.ft. of water. Every month billing since the 1990’s.Jump to todays costs, 1 cubic foot of less of water cost me just over $68/month, 2 cubic feet cost over $78/ month. In the newspaper about 3 weeks ago, because of all the people who cannot afford their water bills, the E.M. told people to go to the tax board for a tax exemption for the poor and if they are approved, the city will take a little over $53.00 a month off of their bills of money used to run the city and to pay several advisers to bail out our bankrupt city, even if the person works a few weeks as some have, they get the years pay and then their replacements the same set-up. almost $200,000 per year each. Thing about this is that the board only meets for 3 half days in March, so next year these people can try to apply.
        I know I qualify, but here is the hitch. I went to the tax boards about 8 years ago because the city tax assessor’s office keep adding square footage not in the house to 250 extra sq.ft. of house to my tax bill where there was no extra footage. I need the space, but that was 50% more house than I have and have lived here 41 years this summer. I had to file with the capitol of the state for a lower exemption which was denied and according to the state, a family of my size was allowed $16,470+ a year to live on to be considered to live in their poverty line. I lived on less than $ 8,000 a year and it figures out that for every $1.00 of poverty level, I lived on 47 cents of that amount or put it this way, 53% below the governments own poverty levels. But even though the books say I qualify, the PTB still denied my and my medical is in the catastrophic range according to my insurance company. So I scrape up the water bill money and pay it because they turn off the water if you go into the 2nd month without payment and then they add several hundreds of dollars for the cut off service and they also add-used to be $25/mth for delinquent bills and when you turn on your water a $800 turn on fee now, well it was that amount a while back, not certain what it is now. Plus if you run the water in like the bathtub or washer, something with a white background, the color is a yellowish brown, sometimes it smells and tastes of chloride really strong. Water is no longer a necessity, it has become a luxury item. Or as the CEO of Nestle’s corporation and owner of several bottled water companies said that people don’t have the right to public water. We can see where that is going. Water to the highest bidders.

        • http://comgen.blogspot.com/ ComGen

          Goodness, I once paid $40.00 in water due to leak, thought that was steep. Now my electric bill in both places run me each $250-$400 month, season effects spike +/-, but this is due to being technology geek and owning several racks of high-end servers that require cooling, plus many personal PC’s / Devices. Lowest I recall [ electrical ] was $80.00-$150.00 back in the 90’s and water was $10.00 roughly–no joke when I first got started on my own. Thanks for sharing by the way. Unreal what utility companies charge in certain areas of the U.S.

          • BanditBasheert

            We have 41 solar panels on our home. My April electric bill for a 4 bedroom house, running a pool pump, was $37. Our May bill was $72. It was 109 degrees yesterday.
            I am a total solar supporter. Our highest electric bill last summer was $185 – we used to be up in the $350-$400 a month range.

      • Janie Bressler

        I pay on average $90-100 a month for water here in my small Arizona
        town and there are only 2 of us in the residence. So an average of $115 in San Diego isn’t out of the question. For those of us living in the Southwest, water isn’t a cheap commodity.

    • BanditBasheert

      In the Desert SW, our Water Bills are calculated based upon our Jan/Feb/Mar bills and then the rest of the year, we are billed the average for those 3 months.
      If we drain/fill the pool during Jan/Feb/Mar we are NOT charged extra for that. They simply send us a form to complete that states when we drained/filled and how many gallons. We do pay for the water but it is not used in our water estimate.
      Our average water usage cost in Phoenix is about $16 a month – but we are also billed for sewer and garbage on that bill which makes it more.

  • Nika

    I pay essentially nothing per month. We built our house in 1995 and paid $3,500 then to put in a well. Thats $16/mo if one divides that over our time here.

  • BanditBasheert

    Our pool holds 16,000 gallons – even in the summer heat, our water usage increases by only about 10% due to evap. If we leaked that 87,000 gallons of water, our entire pool and house would sink.
    That is totally crazy.
    I do like the amount she is suit for.

  • BanditBasheert

    We pay about $85 a month in phoenix. That is with a pool.

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    This is absurd. If her water bill was so much more than usual (if anybody’s water bill is so much more than usual), the water people need to investigate and charge her an AVERAGE amount.. They offered her an 8K bill? Ridiculous. I’m glad she got an attorney and is suing them. Of course, she probably has to pay the darned attorney up front.

    In Chicago, I pay about $45 a month for unlimited water and sewer costs. Electricity is pretty cheap in the winter, usually 50 to 70 bucks a month, but it can go over $200 during the summer when we run the air conditioner. Gas for heat and hot water is also cheap during the spring through fall, $30 to about $60 a month, but can go up to about $150 during the winter months. The best months are April and May and September through October when both gas and electricity are very low.