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Old 03-01-2018, 10:40 AM
 
1,326 posts, read 529,298 times
Reputation: 2308

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Informed Info View Post
Small update:

Called our "old lawyer" this morning who has recently retired. He and my husband developed a friendship over the years, so it was ok to call him. He said that we should not pay the bill & hire a lawyer who will do whatever it is in court to get the bill put in escrow while the issue is being investigated/we sue.

Spoke to a friend of ours who has rentals in the same city.

Same thing happened with one of his properties after the "smart meter" was installed.

The typical bill for this property of his averaged $250/quarter. He got a $5,000.00 + bill for one quarter in 2017. He had his plumber come in and search for leaks. Found nothing. He fought with the water company/city. Didn't pay the bill until they threatened to put a tax lien on the property.

He found out a few months later that his attorney, who also owns rental properties in the city, had the same thing happen with one of his. After a smart meter was installed. He had a meeting with his lawyer late this afternoon (for some other reason) and was going to tell him that he now knows a 3rd person who was ridiculously over-charged. We have yet to hear back from him.

Our meter was changed. The same water company employee that came to read the meter came to change the meter. Yesterday he had told my husband that he was just at another property exchanging a meter out for someone who received a $3,000.00 + bill

My husband asked the water guy how often this was happening.

"We've been told we're not allowed to talk about it".
Recommend you have installed a water leak valve. Not one with sensors but one like #2 in this article https://www.waterdamagedefense.com/c...shut-off-valve. If it was a leak that for some reason is not leaking now then it will show up sooner or later.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:46 AM
 
1,326 posts, read 529,298 times
Reputation: 2308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Informed Info View Post
The mayor of this city? He's a 7 term mayor and is apparently as corrupt as the day is long. Like most corrupt politicians? They keep getting elected over & over & over again. Their "mantra" doesn't fit their actions, but the stupid keep voting them in.

This city, by the way? New Brunswick, NJ. Home to Rutgers University.

Time to put it on blast.

We were told the same today by a state employee: contact the mayor...never would have thought of it & only because I know it would be a lost cause given what I know about the mayor.

We're still going to contact him. Let's see what he has to say.

I just emailed the only radio station in NJ that concerns itself with social/political issues.

It's actually the only radio station in NJ. NJ 101.5

Hoping to hear back. Not counting on it.
Yes, get it out on the local media. It maybe these high bills are just starting to come in and others will soon find the same issues, maybe not this quarter but next depending on when their meters were installed. The more people who come forward the more you back your case. Letters to the editor, posting on local message boards, even creating a searchable blog post where others who have this issue might find it in searching.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh
1,735 posts, read 1,413,237 times
Reputation: 1461
I had this happen (sort of). What actually happened is the meter reading didn't come in at all for a really long time. Our base charge is high enough ($30 a month or so) that I wasn't aware I was being charged for 0 use. When they actually did a manual read on my meter, it looked like my one-month use was equivalent to about 4 years. I was able to get them to start me at zero because it wasn't my fault their "smart meter" wasn't being read properly. I ended up not having to pay the bill.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:47 PM
 
6,166 posts, read 3,257,447 times
Reputation: 12507
Quote:
Originally Posted by Informed Info View Post
Got the bill two weeks ago. $8117.00. HAS to be a mistake, right? Called the city, said they'd send out a human to read the meter (it's a "smart water meter"). Meter was read yesterday, found out today that the reading was correct.

The supervisor at the city water co. feels that the meter did not malfunction because between the initial reading and yesterday, it read that about 20 units of water had been used so far. Normal usage for this property.

We're asking that the meter be replaced and the current one be tested (it was offered).

I called our lawyer immediately. He told me that we're basically screwed & will have to pay the bill in full (above and beyond the average water bill). Not worth losing in court & having to pay him for his time as well. Judges side with tenants & a judge will see a bunch of "poor college kids" vs. landlord. PLUS we'd have to prove that OUR "equipment" wasn't faulty, and that is nearly impossible to do.

Nothing is leaking, no one has complained about a running toilet, etc. The outside spigot is off & doesn't have a handle on it. My husband had been in the building more than several times during the billing period (ended in January) and performed his end of the year individual unit inspection, of which there are four, in December. Saw nothing out of the ordinary, heard nothing out of the ordinary (such as running water).

To top it off, the building was basically empty for an entire month of the billing period due to the fact all of the tenants are students & went home for winter break.

Has anyone dealt with this issue before?
So this is a rental place that you don't have direct knowledge of leaks? All you know is that no one complained? Unless it's a problem for them, why would they complain, if they don't have to pay the bill?

You have to have a plumber examine the place...all the fixtures and pipes and up to the meter, and take a look at the meter.

Do you monitor the readings occasionally? What was the amount of usage (not the amount of the bill...the amount of water used), compared with what is normally used?

Are there others in the area having a similar issue?

You have more investigating to do.

BTW, I'm hearing complaints about similar things in my area. But for the most part, bills & usage are the same for most. So I suspect some leaking or busted pipes after hte unusually harsh winter we had (in an area that rarely hits even 32 degrees...so we are not used to dealing with that).

OR...I suspect that the meter reader got the readings mixed up. That the unusually HIGH usage reading actually belongs to a different property. Our meters are read manually.
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:53 PM
 
8,385 posts, read 7,376,508 times
Reputation: 18254
This is the reason, we like our own well, and septic system, with no water bills or sewer bills. Both work like a charm as they say.

All the water we can possibly need of high quality including running automatic sprinkling system for our 1 acre of landscaped yard nightly in the growing season, and the septic system works perfectly.

Only takes a very little electricity to keep us in water.
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Finally the house is done and we are in Port St. Lucie!
3,488 posts, read 1,793,700 times
Reputation: 9683
Quote:
Originally Posted by Informed Info View Post
We're billed quarterly & this billing period ran from 10/10/17 - 1/08/18.

The typical bill for this property is around $700.00 per quarter.

So about $7,400.00 more than usual.

The city doesn't allow tenants to put the water/sewer account (s) in their names. Has to be in the property owner's name.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
So this is a rental place that you don't have direct knowledge of leaks? All you know is that no one complained? Unless it's a problem for them, why would they complain, if they don't have to pay the bill?

You have to have a plumber examine the place...all the fixtures and pipes and up to the meter, and take a look at the meter.

Do you monitor the readings occasionally? What was the amount of usage (not the amount of the bill...the amount of water used), compared with what is normally used?

Are there others in the area having a similar issue?

You have more investigating to do.

BTW, I'm hearing complaints about similar things in my area. But for the most part, bills & usage are the same for most. So I suspect some leaking or busted pipes after hte unusually harsh winter we had (in an area that rarely hits even 32 degrees...so we are not used to dealing with that).

OR...I suspect that the meter reader got the readings mixed up. That the unusually HIGH usage reading actually belongs to a different property. Our meters are read manually.

See the quote above yours. $700 is normal for the billing period of time. Each quarter.

Further into the thread, the OP has discovered more people in the same area are getting much higher bills than 'normal'. They have contacted their attorney who advises to not pay the bill and to fight it.
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:01 PM
 
3,041 posts, read 1,212,973 times
Reputation: 6018
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
We went round and round with the energy company on gas with a simlar issue. Fought with them for months. What they were claiming was impossible. They kept giving us the run around, putting us on hold transferring us to false "managers" ect. Each time we called, the raised the purported bill another thousand or two, saying they ahd re-calculated it or updated it once again. We finally filed a complaint with the public ulititly commission and viola, suddenly we had a VP on the phone and 80% of the charge just went away.

Water probably does not fall under the PUC, but if not, there is likely some department or division for dealing with complaints.
I know in my old state, Florida, water is regulated by the PSC. There is also a litigation unit there that represents consumers against utilities so they don’t necessarily have to pay their own. It is definitely worth looking into in NJ, as FL is hardly a bright blue state. If this city/utility is installing smart meters that are charging numerous people at rates more than 10x what they’d normally use and then denying that there’s an issue, I’d think this would be something that the litigation unit would want to take on. This is particularly an issue when the utility bills quarterly and isn’t alerting people to abnormally high usage at any point during the quarter.
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:37 PM
 
8,232 posts, read 7,167,640 times
Reputation: 7752
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthofHere View Post
Recommend you have installed a water leak valve. Not one with sensors but one like #2 in this article https://www.waterdamagedefense.com/c...shut-off-valve. If it was a leak that for some reason is not leaking now then it will show up sooner or later.
Thanks, just sent the info to my husband.



Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthofHere View Post
Yes, get it out on the local media. It maybe these high bills are just starting to come in and others will soon find the same issues, maybe not this quarter but next depending on when their meters were installed. The more people who come forward the more you back your case. Letters to the editor, posting on local message boards, even creating a searchable blog post where others who have this issue might find it in searching.
Thanks, again!
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:40 PM
 
8,232 posts, read 7,167,640 times
Reputation: 7752
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
We went round and round with the energy company on gas with a simlar issue. Fought with them for months. What they were claiming was impossible. They kept giving us the run around, putting us on hold transferring us to false "managers" ect. Each time we called, the raised the purported bill another thousand or two, saying they ahd re-calculated it or updated it once again. We finally filed a complaint with the public ulititly commission and viola, suddenly we had a VP on the phone and 80% of the charge just went away.
Wow.

Quote:
Water probably does not fall under the PUC, but if not, there is likely some department or division for dealing with complaints.
Unfortunately it doesn't, and we can't seem to find a state agency/board that does.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:01 PM
 
8,232 posts, read 7,167,640 times
Reputation: 7752
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsStanwix? View Post
I had this happen (sort of). What actually happened is the meter reading didn't come in at all for a really long time. Our base charge is high enough ($30 a month or so) that I wasn't aware I was being charged for 0 use. When they actually did a manual read on my meter, it looked like my one-month use was equivalent to about 4 years. I was able to get them to start me at zero because it wasn't my fault their "smart meter" wasn't being read properly. I ended up not having to pay the bill.
Sent you a rep w/comment....meant to say "sounds like YOUR city/town", not "our"!

Wouldn't let me edit, but I'm sure you figured it out!
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