WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KFDX/KJTL) – An 84-year-old Wichita Falls woman had the scare of her life, after opening her recent water bill and seeing a bill for almost $3,000.
Jessie Pond said she was terrified at the thought of being forced to pay a close to $3,000 water bill. The city says it was an estimate of one of the new advanced water meters being installed around the city that led to that figure. Now the question is how could that estimate be so off?
“It’s $2,992.61,” said Pond. “My reaction? I was very disgusted. It just ruined my weekend.”
Pond said she’s never seen a water bill that high before.
“There’s no way I could pay for it, no way.”
And with her health conditions…
“Since 2003, I’ve had this pacemaker and this could have upset it, but I try not to get upset too much.”
Pond’s residence was recently upgraded to the city’s new digital/wireless water meter.
We followed pond to up to the Wichita Falls Water Department. After a few minutes they told her, her bill was only an estimate and after sending someone to do an actual reading on the meter, the estimate was an obvious error as the new bill dropped to $69.
Other residents like Matt Larsen had some issues of his own, like not being able to open his meter lid trying to turn off the water to his home while experiencing a leak.
“I had to do something I couldn’t just let the water run, until I can get a hold of somebody or get in it some how,” said Larsen. “So, they sent somebody out. They got to the meter, their key wouldn’t work. They tried and tried and tried to get into the meter. They couldn’t get it open.”
Larsen said the city did finally get the lid open, and they also charged him for opening it.
Blake Jurecek, the director of information technology and facilities, says with the new meters it will take a little time to get out all the kinks.
“We had some meter lids that we got in early on in the project that the key whole is a little different shaped,” Jurecek said. “So, we are just swapping those out. The manufacturer is actually going and fixing those as we find them and getting that cleaned up.”
Another part of the process as the city continues to update the water meter reading business to the latest technology.