Largo woman laid off during pandemic says she was shocked when her water bill hit nearly $500

Homeowner made a call for action
Posted at 8:42 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 20:42:51-04

LARGO, Fla. -- A Largo woman laid off during the pandemic told ABC Action News she was shocked when her water bill spiked to nearly $500 – spurring her to make a call for help to Taking Action reporter Jackie Callaway.

Tammy told ABC Action News she is in the process of selling her Largo condo and hasn’t lived there this year.

She reported the county left a green notice on her door notifying her there might be a leak, but it wasn’t until her bill arrived that Tammy said she knew something had gone terribly wrong.

“It’s crazy – $484 – so I called and told them, ‘I don't have $484 for a water bill. My bill is usually $84,” she said.

Tammy said Pinellas County Utilities told her she had to fix the leak even though it was on county property.

“They kept saying if I repaired the leak, they would credit the account,” said Tammy, who was laid off during the pandemic.

She said she tried calling supervisors at the utility agency, but she never got a call back.

ABC Action News emailed Pinellas County Utilities on Tammy’s behalf.

“By 5:55 p.m. the same day, I had a call from the supervisor and they wanted me to call them to discuss settling this case,” said Tammy.

In an email to ABC Action News, Pinellas County Utilities confirmed the leak was on the county side of the property, stating, “The leak was investigated and repaired by Pinellas County Utilities. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication it took longer than anticipated to resolve…”

PCU also lowered Tammy’s bill to $84.

Homeowners who receive an abnormally high water bill, should shut off all the water inside their home and check the meter. If the meter is moving while the water is off, it could indicate a leak.

Homeowners can contact the utility agency to check for a leak. Some utilities will provide a credit to the account once a leak is repaired.