CYPRESS, TX (KTRK) --Tens of thousands of people in southeast Texas will soon pay more for a common necessity: water.
"The bills were fairly repeatable. About 25,000 gallons a month. Maybe a little more or a little less. The only exception was when we had to fill our pool," Terry West said.
West, a Quadvest customer, says his water bill started creeping after the company took over water service in Cypress' Lakes of Fairheaven early this year.
"In May it went to $311. And then in August it went to over $400," he said.
He says he asked the company for help figuring out the jump, and got nowhere. So he had his property check for leaks.
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"Their rate is their rate and everybody in Lakes of Fairhaven is paying that rate," West said. "But I guess I was mostly disappointed when I called about an almost 80,000 gallon bill and got nothing in terms of help trying to figure out what might be wrong."
Since April, 23 customers have filed complaints against the company with the Texas Public Utilities Commission.
"Our customer service girls, in some cases, are getting 300 calls a day," Simon Sequeira, Quadvest Water and Utility President, said.
Sequeira gives two reasons. First, they've replaced old water meters.
"Now we put in these brand new state of the art meters and they're getting a very accurate water bill," Sequeira said.
Second, the source of their water, the San Jacinto River Authority, raised the rate it charges for water.
"Because we had to sign the contract with the river authority, we have to tax our customers, collect the tax and give it to the river authority. Or we get put out of business," he added.
The SJRA says two wet years dramatically reduced water usage and its revenue, forcing them to dip way into its reserves. So it had to raise its fee to build that savings account back up.
Customers of 151 utility companies, from Conroe, the Woodlands, to Cypress and Tomball, will see higher bills.