Water Bill Investigation: News 8 viewers say they can't get a ca - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Water Bill Investigation: News 8 viewers say they can't get a call back

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — News 8's investigation into high water bills across the city of San Diego continues.

Months after we received our first complaint, viewers are still emailing us about the problem. Now many are saying they can't even get a call back from the water department.

"It's unfair for them to be treating us that way," said 89-year-old Israel Murry.

Israel noticed something was wrong when he and his 96-year-old wife Estella received their latest water bill.

It was a bit higher than usual.

Family members stepped in and realized the number on the bill didn't match the one on his meter.

Israel says with thick dirt on the meter he doesn't see how anyone could have read it.

"I watched him when he got here he didn't open it up," said Israel.

RELATED: City water department admits misreading meters, will fix bills

With the help of their daughter, Israel and Estella say they've called the Public Utilities Department 20 times with no luck.

They've also emailed but haven't heard back.

"I don't waste water," said Ron Bowda who is in the same boat.

On March 7, a pamphlet was left on his door claiming a city meter reader had come by.

"The City has people dropping off these that say somebody is inspecting and cleaning the face of the meter so you can read it and it wasn't the case," said Bowda.

He emailed PUD and didn't get a response.

"It said somebody would contact me within 5 business days and that was on March 7," said Bowda.

News 8 reached out to PUD and they invited us into their customer service overflow center to show us what they're doing to address people's concerns."

With added staff, officials claim the average wait time is one-and-a-half minutes, but admit it hasn't always been that way.

"A couple weeks ago, we were having much higher call volumes, which led to much higher call wait time," said Brent Eidson.

Eidson assured News 8 that the department is working hard to deal with everyone reaching out including the people in this story.

"If some have not been responded to, we will go back and verify they're responded to in short order," said Eidson.

As for the dirty meters, he says only a small portion needs to be seen.

And while its possible some haven't actually been read:

"We've taken steps here, internally, with new training and with this door hanger - our meter readers are verifying that they have indeed read that meter," said Eidson.

The PUD is holding two open houses this weekend where you can speak with a representative in person. Click here for details


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