94-year-old woman and her daughter relieved after $3,000 water bill gets deducted

Mycah Hatfield Image
Friday, June 14, 2024
94-year-old woman and her daughter relieved after 3,000 water bill gets deducted
When the plumber was sent out to the family's home, he found a small leak on the customer's invoice, but neither the mother nor the daughter had ever noticed it before.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman and her 94-year-old mother have spent months trying to get to the bottom of a more than $3,000 water bill that the older woman received.

Hattie Chatmon lives alone in the Eastex Jensen area. She said she only uses water to wash dishes, clothes, and take baths. She even drinks only bottled water.

Her daughter, Betty Chatmon Coleman, makes sure her bills are paid.

When she found out that her mother's water bill early in 2024 was more than $3,000, she said she was stunned. Her bill shows the usage is almost off the chart, but she did not change any of her habits.

They called out a plumber who noted a "small leak" in his invoice, but it was not something the mother or daughter had ever noticed.

For months, Chatmon Coleman said she has been calling the city to get the bill lowered. She said her mother cannot afford a bill that high.

"My lunch break is 30 minutes, and every Friday, this is what I'm doing on my lunch period," Chatmon Coleman said. "I'm trying to take care of this. This is crazy."

She has filed paperwork for a leak adjustment with the city and said she was told to call back every month regarding the application.

"I'm holding it together, but this is frustrating to me," Chatmon Coleman said. "I have done everything I could possibly do. I even wrote the mayor. I haven't heard back from him. Something has to be done. My mom is in her 90s. Why does she have to worry about this?"

ABC13 reached out to Houston Public Works, and they immediately looked at her account.

A spokesperson for the department attributed the higher-than-normal bill to a leak at her home and a winter storm. The city applied adjustments to her bill that lowered it from $3,373.59 to $13.92.

Chatmon Coleman and her mother were overcome with excitement over the news.

In a statement, a spokesperson said, "Houston Public Works encourages customers to reach out to Customer Account Services at 713-371-1400 to resolve billing issues. We recently launched in-person or virtual appointments to assist customers. They can schedule them online at HoustonWaterBills.org or by calling the number above."

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