A California woman has been ordered to pay a $16,000 water bill despite no evidence of nearly that amount of usage on her part.
KNSD-TV reported on Friday that officials in Escondido, California insist Margaret Kreusser owes the full amount for alleged usage between December 2012 and January 2013, which would mean she used an more than 87,000 gallons a day during that period. Kreusser told the station her regular bill is about $115 a month, since she uses about 150 gallons daily.
In response, Kreusser has sued the city for $300,000. Officials at the Escondido Utility Billing Department refused to comment on the matter, since the pending court date, but Kreusser told KNSD that she refused the city’s offer to cut the bill in half.
She also said to the station that officials told her the excess water was caused by a leak that probably seeped into the ground or a nearby creek, and that her water meter was spinning wildly before they replaced it. Kreusser has also added new water pipes.
But George Newman, a water expert with the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN), told KNSD that the city’s explanation doesn’t make sense.
A leak of that magnitude, Newman said, “would blast out of the ground like you wouldn’t believe. It might go 75, 80 feet high. There would be a sinkhole there you could put half a dozen busses in.”
Watch KNSD’s report on Kreusser’s sky-high water bill, aired Friday, below.
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