Tampa residents report 'crazy high' water bills, city responds

Water bills double, even triple for some residents
Posted at 10:33 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 23:22:14-04

It wasn’t a formal survey, but it was enough to get the City of Tampa’s attention.

James Adair, a South Tampa resident, noticed his water bill was nearly triple what it usually is. So, he took to the app Nextdoor and asked three simple questions. 

“Was your bill higher, about the same, or crazy higher over the past month?" he wrote. 

Forty percent of the 60 people polled said their bill was crazy higher, 45 percent said it was the same and 15 percent said a little higher.

“My best conclusion is that it was a misread. I have a digit 'two' and it also looks like a 'five' ... That's a whole lot of gallons different,” Adair said. 

Adair said his usual bill runs about $90, his last bill was $265.40 -- and the city said he used 32,000 gallons of water.

“I don’t have a pool, my toilets aren’t leaking, and I was out of town a lot that month,” Adair said. “Thirty-two thousand gallons... That goes into the third tier of water supply, that is like almost commercial.”

Nextdoor user Nick Dareneau said his billed jumped to $558.55. That is double what he paid last month, he said, and after looking at his bill, he noticed even the month before was higher. The city said he used 65,000 gallons. His average for the year without the increase last month, according to his bill, was around 18,000 gallons a month.

“We have to pay the bill because I'm not sure anywhere else we can get water from, [so] we are going to pay the bill,” Dareneau said. “It's frustrating. I don't have too much time to deal with it. but I'd like to get it fixed.”

The City of Tampa said the meters are read accurately 99 percent of the time. They urge anyone who thinks there is a mistake to go to their website and fill out a complaint to fix the problem.