Woman brought to tears after city sends her $1,700 water bill

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Donna Alfred has lived in her home for 14 years and she has always been on time with her bills.

But recently she was charged almost $1,700 for a disconnected irrigation line. She was billed for a higher number than was on her meter.

"They come up with an estimated number," Alfred said, "It says right there."

She reached out to the water department, which acknowledged the mistake, but told her they don't give refunds. They said they would give her a credit instead.

"To have the city steal from you is really really bad," Alfred said.

Alfred said she needed that $1,700 for her house and car payment, money she didn't have.

"I have cried, I have cried for days over the City of Houston Water Department, and they don't care," Alfred said. "Don't make any mistake about it, they do not care whether or not you make your house payment."

ABC13 Eyewitness News reached out to public works about the issue, and a short time later Alfred says the money was refunded.

She says she's thankful, but isn't so sure something like this won't happen again to her or someone else.

"If it happens to me, it can happen to them," Alfred said.

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