Water Bill Investigation: Water Department’s fix is small plug f - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Water Bill Investigation: Water Department’s fix is small plug for major leak

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – News 8’s investigation into high water bills in the City of San Diego continued Friday.

On Thursday, city officials took responsibility for hundreds of residents who were overcharged, but that accounted for some of the people who have reached out to News 8 about the problem.

So what is next for those who are not receiving a refund?

Anthony Theodore was not impressed when the Public Utilities Department finally admitted to misreading 343 water meters and overcharging those customers on average of $300.

VIDEO: The most unreadable water meter News 8 has seen yet

That’s because the mistake, according to PUD, happened in just one section of San Diego. PUD said human error led to misreadings in Carmel Valley, Mira Mesa, Rancho Penasquitos and Rancho Bernardo.

But, what about the rest of the city?

“It’s happening in Hillcrest, Mission Hills, Pacific Beach, El Cajon, Allied Gardens. I’ve got friends telling me it’s happening everywhere,” said Anthony.

Anthony’s water bill is an example.

VIDEO: Water Department's fix is a small plug for a major leak

He owns a building on University Avenue in Hillcrest, but despite the front restaurant closing months ago, Anthony’s water bill tripled.

“Normally it would be $700 for two businesses. Now, it’s $2,100 for one business. Come on, really? It’s not fair,” he said.

Many of News 8 viewers feel the same as Anthony, and so does City Council President pro-tem, Barbara Bry – whose district includes the Northwest part of the city, including La Jolla.

“Yes, I guess what we don’t know is whether meters are being misread in other communities and we also do not know if there may be technical computer issues going on,” said Bry.

Councilwoman Bry said her constituents have been complaining for months – which is why she called for an audit of PUD.

“It’s really important that consumers trust that the bill they get from the city is accurate,” she said.

That audit will begin Monday. Meaning the investigation is not over.

RELATED: Many News 8 viewers see sudden jump in water bill 

PUD did agree to put more oversight measures in place like additional meter reads and alerts that flag unusual spikes in water usage.

“I think the Water Department has made some excellent recommendations about how they are going to change their procedures moving forward,” said Bry.

For those customers impacted by the misreadings, you will be notified by letter and given a refund or credit.

The completion of the audit is expected in June.

Water customers are encouraged to contact the City with questions or concerns at 619-515-3500 or customercare@sandiego.gov.  

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