Houston-area homeowner seeking resolution after receiving $1,500 water bill

In this heat wave, we’ve had soaring electricity bills here in Houston. But one Houston-area woman is trying to figure out why her water bill ballooned to more than $1,500 at her 1,500 square foot home.

It’s been extremely dry, so some people have been excessively watering their lawns, but when you look at Andrea Dyer’s grass, you’ll see that isn’t the case. So she says she’s stumped as to why her water bill suddenly skyrocketed last month.

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A big bill is something most of us dread, particularly if we think it’s an error. 

"I’m not asking for any favors," says Dyer.  

Houston Public Works says the average home uses 4,000 gallons of water per month.

Andrea Dyer’s bill shows not much water usage at her Northeast Houston home, then last month, it skyrockets to 16,000 gallons used and 10,000 plus so far in August, adding up to more than a $1,500 dollar water bill.

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She contacted City of Houston Public Works telling them there must be a mistake. 

"The only thing they could offer me is a payment plan. So they gave me an answer. They did not give me a resolution. I need a resolution," Dyer adds, and she says she explained the new construction next door broke ground at the end of June 2023, and she realized her water meter box has two meters inside.

So she’s wondering if either will explain the spike in her bill.

"Is it the meter? Is it a faulty meter?" Dyer asks. 

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The City of Houston, she says, told her she does not have a leak and Public Works red tagged the new construction next door, telling them their water meter has to be placed in the "responsible party’s name before use," but the owner of the new home says they haven’t used any water.

Dyer says she’s not sure how her only option with the city is a payment arrangement. 

"I do not understand how the City of Houston makes deals with the low and no income, poverty-stricken, marginalized communities to keep an essential like water," says Dyer. 

The City of Houston Public Works Department says Dyer’s account is under review, but Dyer says she received a call late this afternoon from the city saying no errors were found, and her case is closed.

Other than contacting a lawyer, if you have a utility bill you believe is excessive, one other option is to file a complaint with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.