Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Your monthly water bill .. is it correct?

November 28, 2007

During this same time last year our average water bill was about $15, so imagine our shock when last month's bill showed an amount due of $195.33.
What a HUGE increase.
Was this a costly price hike? Were we careless water hogs? Could there be a mistake? Did the house have some unknown water leak spewing gallons of water by the minute?
The bill stated 66,000 gallons of water was used in a single month.
That seemed nearly impossible for a single occupied home with (a) desert landscaping, (b) water saving shower heads, (c) water saving toilets, and (d) plenty of bottled water to replace drinking out of the tap.
Customer service at the Water District suggested we read our meter and compare that number to what was printed on our last statement.
We did ...and guess what?
The number on our meter and on our bill were completely different.
In fact, the current meter read was less than the previous read 2-months ago.
It turns out the electronics that spit out our water usage information into the readers the water district uses to measure were defective.
Not only was the $195.33 not due, but after an examination by the water district a $70 credit was issued for previous months where usage was miscalculated.
It paid to read our meter.
How often do errors with meter reads occur? Not very.
The water district told us they have a 99% to 99.2% accuracy.
About 200 to 280 residential bills get kicked-out of their system each month for examination because water usage was either unusually high or low. (Somehow our $195.33 sneaked by.)
About a year ago the water district replaced our meter. That's something they do as meters reach the age of 20 years. There's something else to know that could be helpful in detecting unknown water leaks on your property. These new meters have a small red triangle on the face of them, and when water is being used the triangle will rotate. So if all your faucets are turned off and no water is being used inside or outside your home, the triangle should not rotate - that's one way to see if you have an unknown leak somewhere on your property.

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