70-Year-Old Widow's Water Usage On Utility Bill Reversed

Widow was charged for using nearly 45,000 gallons of water

By Tammy Mutasa
|  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011  |  Updated 7:30 PM CDT
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After being charged $1,000 for a water bill, Garland takes a second look at a residents bill.

Tammy Mutasa, Garland Reporter

After being charged $1,000 for a water bill, Garland takes a second look at a residents bill.

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Garland Woman Gets $1,000 Water Bill

A 70-year-old Garland woman's utility bills over two months totaled more than $1,000 dollars. The city says it's legitimate, she says the city's system is flawed.
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It’s the follow up to a story you saw first on NBC 5. In Garland, one 70-year-old widow who received a two utility bills totaling $1000, is now being reversed.

Ruby Gillian Valderas, 70, has always maintained that there was no way she used nearly 45,000 gallons of water each month, when she says uses about 2,400. She had been billed a little over a $1,000 for her utility bill in August and September.

"I am thrilled that they realized that there was a real problem and not something I fabricated,” said Valderas.

With no leaks and a sprinkler system which was not working, Ruby fought once again and the city came to check things out one more time.

"We've been arguing with the city for quite a while about my sprinkler system not working,” said Valderas. “And finally they sent somebody out and they agreed that it wasn't working."

The city will credit Valderas back for almost all she’s been charged for her water bill portion in August and September. The city said they looked back at Valderas’ usage in 2009 and re-assessed her bill according to that year. They also replaced her meter while testing the old one.

“There's only me here and so I was getting a little nervous about how much the city kept charging me,” Valderas said.

The city says they gave Valderas the benefit of doubt after verifying that the sprinkler really wasn’t  inoperable, but they still said they didn’t know why her usage was so high, especially since her meter was working and there were no leaks.

Still, it’s a relief for Valderas that she does not have to see anymore thousand dollar bills on a fixed income—where every penny counts.

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