Florida woman gets water bills for empty house

Posted at 9:16 PM, May 16, 2017

Despite a home sitting empty for months, a Florida woman says the county still sent her hefty water bills and offered to investigate the problem “for an additional $75.”

Esther Suarez-Cabrera said she did a thorough check to ensure there were no leaks and nothing as left on, and then asked the utility to come check for a faulty meter.

At first a crew with Polk County Utilities found nothing wrong, but she begged them to come back out, and sure enough, another crew found a leak right before the water hits the meter.

Her latest bill for $93 stands.

“They said we can do the audit at additional cost but you’ll be responsible for the $93 and the cost of the audit,” she told WFTS-TV.

The $75 audit was just to get a crew to come out and take a closer look.

“If we find anything that is our fault, you’re not going to pay anything,” said Charles Richards, in charge of customer service for the utility.

He said they charge for an audit because it takes time, man power, and wears the tiny batteries on all of the meters.

After WFTS-TV got involved, Richards ordered an audit on the property at no cost.

“Maybe the irrigation system is going off and she just doesn’t know, so we are going to pull the audit and see what’s going on,” he said.

According to the utility, the most common problems of sky high water bills: a toilet that runs non-stop, forgetting a sprinkler system is on, or even leaks at the meter.

“They clearly came out and did find a problem. There shouldn’t be a fee,” said Suarez-Cabrera.

So far, there has been no explanation of the problem, but the county promises to get to the bottom of it.