Residents claim unusually high water bills - WNEM TV 5

Residents claim unusually high water bills

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Saginaw locals said they're being charged for thousands of gallons of water they never used.

The city's water department is defending the high bills, claiming they're based on estimates from previous months. 

"There's a problem, there's no solution to it and no answer, and that scares me," Anthony Kanuszewski said.

The Saginaw resident said he usually pays $65 a month for water, but in April his bill jumped to more than $104.

"I've been averaging 3,000 gallons of water per month and the bill I got in April was 8,000. That's 5,000 gallons more," Kanuszewski said.

He said he's checked his pipes and plumbing and he hasn't found any problems. He wants to know why the city is charging him for thousands of gallons of water he says he did not use.

"It's very, very rare that the meters are ever faulty," he said.

Joe Finazzi handles the city's utilities accounts and he said several residents did receive higher water bills in April. He said the city estimated meter readings this past winter.

"With the extreme weather conditions the meter readers weren't able to get a read, so per city ordinance we have a process where we estimate accounts," he said.

Finazzi said the city started reading the meters again in April and then balanced out any difference from those estimates. However, he said the case of Kanuszewski's bill is a little different.

"We don't know how or why, but that was an actual reading. I gave him some suggestions and told him what to look for and told him it was an actual read. Only he knows what happened to the water," Finazzi said.

Finazzi said he thinks a problem with a toilet or plumbing is likely to blame.

"It's something that the city cant decipher for you. All I can tell you is that was the reading.  How, when and where that water went.  I can't give you that answer," Finazzi said.

Kanuszewski said his most recent bill dropped backed down to normal.

As for what caused his April bill hike he fears that's a question he may never get fully answered.

"I don't have any toilet problems. I don't have any plumbing problems. The house is only three years old. If there's a problem, I don't see it. It's not there," he said.

Homeowners can request to have their water meters tested, but unless the meter is found to be faulty, the city requires residents to pay for that test.

Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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