The August water bill has many North Texans thirsty for answers.
Several residents in towns throughout the area are reporting a big bill for the month that includes, they say, an unexplained bump in usage.
In The Colony, residents of the Stewart Peninsula neighborhood took to social media sharing snapshots of their bills that showed their usage up nearly four times what they’re used to; one displaying more than 50,000 gallons used in August compared to just over 20,000 last year in August.
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Jim Budney made the trip to the curb Monday afternoon to personally check his meter after getting a similar bill in the mail last week.
“Four times higher,” said Budney. "Hasn't been that much hotter, we've been watering the lawn with the same regularity, and only the two of us in the house, so it's a big discrepancy."
Another resident sharing a similar experience said he even compared the recent bill to March’s where he had to fill a back yard pool and the August bill was still much higher.
City leaders in The Colony spent the day Monday looking into the issue and released a statement late in the day saying there didn’t appear to be an issue in the billing.
They said they performed individual audits of the meters and bills and even had a third party administrator review the data.
“Upon reviewing the research, the city has concluded that the readings are correct and that the water was used by residents,” the statement read. “The review has also led to the conclusion that a couple of factors compounded in a short period of time to result in the large bills; namely, the billing period and the weather.”
The city said the current August period was a week longer than most billing periods and the hot, dry weather, that’s coming off of a very wet, flooded summer, likely also drove up prices.
Elsewhere, other communities experiencing high bills are coming to similar conclusions, telling our partners at The Dallas Morning News that rate increases factor in, as well.
Meanwhile, more reports of high bills continue to come in from residents in Corinth, Mansfield, Fate, Flower Mound, and others, and many say that even with a longer billing period and high temperatures, they can’t account for using as much water as they’re being billed for.
If you are experiencing high water bills, experts recommend checking for issues like leaks and lowering your weekly lawn watering times. You should also contact your utility provider if you feel there is a discrepancy.
In The Colony, leaders said they are prepared to allow more time for residents to pay if they’ve been impacted by the higher than normal billing circumstances. They said to contact the city.