From the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, 5 On Your Side reports
Weslaco Bills Resident $48,000 for Water Service
Sept. 11, 2014
WESLACO – A Weslaco resident says the city is billing her thousands of dollars for water service.
Lesvia Sepulveda said she received a bill for $48,000. She called 5 On Your Side for help.
Sepulveda said she doesn’t use much water. She won’t even water her backyard.
Her water bills usually stay in the $50 range.
She didn’t get billed this month, so she called the city.
“I told her, ‘how much is it?’ I want to know,” she said.
“She said, ‘well, you’re going to get scared. … It’s $48,000,'” Sepulveda said.
Sepulveda lives on a fixed income. She refused to pay.
“I told her, ‘hey, that’s too much. What’s the matter with you all? Did you send a blind man to check my meter, or what?'” Sepulveda said.
The problem, city officials said, is Weslaco’s smart meters.
“They’re adding additional digits to the reading – be it a zero, or two zeros or three zeros – making it seem that the reading itself is a lot higher than it is,” Weslaco Public Utilities Director David Salinas said.
Salinas said about 30 percent of the city’s 10,000 meters aren’t working properly.
While the meter manufacturer tries to find a solution, the city is working around the problem by physically reading meters and fixing the errors.
“You might get the bill a little late. They’re trying to catch all those before they go out,” Salinas said.
“They didn’t send me any notice,” Sepulveda said.
The city adjusted Sepulveda’s water bill. She will only pay $55, instead of $48,000.
To report problems with water bills in Weslaco, call 956-972-3113.
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