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Water bill woes: Woman receives $25,000 water bill from city of Delray Beach

City says error was isolated, no one else impacted
City of Delray Beach water tower closeup
Posted at 12:13 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 18:45:41-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Maura Hopkins got her latest water bill from the city of Delray Beach and was hit with a case of sticker shock.

"[The bill] was for $24,947, or something like that," Hopkins told Contact 5.

Hopkins' total water bill came in at $25,025.41, for just one month.

"[I'm] thankful I didn't have it on automatic payment," Hopkins said. "I was completely shocked when I opened it. I thought, this has got to be a mistake."

water bill Maura Hopkins.png
A copy of the water bill Maura Hopkins received from the City of Delray Beach

Hopkins called the city and she said the "[city] immediately said it was a mistake, it was an error on our side."

Contact 5 reached out to the city of Delray Beach, asking how they could accidentally bill Hopkins over $25,000 for water consumption.

A spokesperson told Contact 5 there was an issue with a water meter's factory settings, adding no other customers in the city were impacted.

"At times meters come from the factory with the reading dials set at 9999, once there is water flow the meter will turn over to 0000. In this case since there has been no usage, so the meter has not turned over to 0000," the city spokesperson wrote in an email.

The spokesperson also said they would update Hopkins' account with a zero charge.

Meanwhile, Hopkins said she's still waiting on a revised bill. It's not the first time Hopkins has experienced issues with the city's water billing.

RELATED: Delray Beach residents receive water bills for 'negative' and 'zero' water usage

Last year, the city notified Hopkins and her neighbor, Ron Godfrey, that they hadn't been charged for water consumption for more than a year in a half.

"They shouldn't be able to go back two years and charge you retroactively," Godfrey told Contact 5 in October 2020.

Maura Hopkins and Ron Godfrey receive questionable Delray Beach water bills
Delray Beach neighbors Maura Hopkins and Ron Godfrey received questionable water bills.

In an interview in October 2020, Hopkins said "it doesn't seem like it's fair to retroactively charge" for unbilled water consumption.

Now months later, another billing blunder has Hopkins once again asking for a review of the city's billing practices.

"I wouldn't pay anything unless you really thoroughly look at your bill and investigate what the charges are because from what I've seen, there's a lot of charges coming through that are not legit," Hopkins told Contact 5.

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