Denise Huff found a water leak in her outdoor sprinkler system the hard way — by opening her City of Delta bill and discovering the amount owed had jumped by hundreds of dollars. Unfortunately, she didn't open the bill until it was due and by that time a second bill was on its way — with even more owing.
Huff explained her situation during a recent meeting of the Delta City Council. She told councilmembers that when she brought the matter to the attention of city staff, they looked at her water bill and immediately realized she had a leak. "If someone can look at that reading and say you've got a bad leak, how come nobody notified me?" she asked.
It turns out there is a way to monitor meter readings that exceed the norm, but that system is turned off during the summer when water use can fluctuate a great deal.
"That's frustrating," Huff said. "I don't know what we can do different, but in less than three months I used half a million gallons of water."
She also complained about the way she was treated by city staff, which prompted a quick apology from city manager Justin Clifton. He also explained the short window between the time the meters are read and the bills are mailed.
"The moment those meters are read, the bills go out, so by the time we get on the phone the bills are already on their way," he said. "Oftentimes the quickest and most expeditious way to let a customer know there might be an issue is to open the bill right away. Otherwise, we may have a list of 40, 50 or many more households or businesses we're out contacting, leaving phone messages, and mostly chasing false red flags.
"We're not trying to save the city's money, we're just trying to be efficient. That actually saves our money, as citizens and taxpayers."
Still, Clifton said, he would look into ways to develop an exceptions report that would warn water users of potential problems.blog comments powered by Disqus