Today in ‘automation is better’ news, a contractor in Atlanta is facing a $30,000 water bill for a lot that doesn’t even have a connection to a water line.
Jeff Raw, president and CEO of Revive Construction Group said he hadn’t even started construction yet on a site in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood when he received huge bills from Atlanta Watershed Management.
He tried to get his bill adjusted and even went to the utility company’s appeals board, but was denied the chance to change the bill, a report from Yahoo Finance, citing a FOX 5 Atlanta investigation, said.
“I feel like it’s extortion,” he said. “This is criminal.”
Atlanta Watershed Management set up a standalone water meter on an undeveloped plot in October 2022. Within a month, Revive Construction received a bill for $8,899, allegedly for using 305,184 gallons of water, far exceeding the EPA’s average household usage of 9,000 gallons per month.
Over five months, bills totaled $29,669.43 for over a million gallons of water, which the construction company appealed. The Atlanta Watershed Management appeals board suggested the water was used, leaked, or stolen. Raw, from Revive Construction, criticized the board, feeling accused of stealing.
Initially, the utility company acknowledged a leak and reduced the bill to $219.29, but then reverted to the original $30,000 charge. Raw’s appeal against this decision failed, even though a senior utility employee supported his case.
As the article notes, if you’re faced with an unexpectedly high water bill, don’t rush to pay it. Instead, take steps to confirm your actual water use and address any discrepancies.
Start by comparing your water meter reading with the one on your bill. A mismatch can serve as proof in seeking a bill adjustment. If the bill is accurate, your next step is to check for leaks. Turn off all water sources and monitor the meter. If it continues to move, you likely have a leak, often found in toilets.
Prompt action is crucial in case of leaks to avoid extensive water damage and potential insurance claims, adding to your financial burden. Hiring a plumber for leak detection and repair is advisable. Keep detailed records, like the plumber’s report, to substantiate your case for a bill correction.