Water bills jump as much as 85%

December 1, 2008 4:18:04 PM PST
A lot of Americans are having to pinch pennies to make ends meet. That's partly why hundreds of residents are fighting their water service company over an increase they didn't see coming.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

About 2,000 customers will be affected by this rate increase -- people living in Harris, Liberty and Montgomery counties. While customers are paying their bills, some aren't giving up without a fight.

When Lee Turner cranks up his hose, he does it with a bit of apprehension. That's because what he used to pay on his water bill just got a lot more expensive.

"I was stunned," he recalled. "It was, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?'"

Turner gets his water from T&W Water Service. Last April, the company informed its customers it was raising its rates. But Turner was shocked to see just how much. His bill increased by 85%.

"We cut back to 13,000, but our bill went up anyway," Turner explained. "It went up to $87, even though we're using less water."

Our calls to T&W went unanswered today. But in a letter to its customers, the company says the increase was the first it has made in the 10 years since it's been in business.

While some can appreciate keeping up with inflation, one developer whose homeowners are affected by the increase doesn't understand why there's such a huge jump.

William Hintermyster with the Lake Forest Development explained, "I think, if it's fair and reasonable, I know residents here that I spoke to would expect that, and no one's going to quibble over that. It's just that the rate they're asking for is pretty high."

That's why Turner began collecting signatures of more than 200 of his neighbors. He plans to petition the increase before the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

"I've always fought for people," he said. "We just don't take this laying down. This is not going to happen."

That hearing takes place on December 16 in Austin. At that time, both sides will try to reach a compromise. If a compromise is not made, Turner says he'll get an attorney.

We were able to bring you this story with the help of our HCN partner, the Courier of Montgomery County.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments