Sure, it's been a scorching summer on the East Coast, but even in this heat some residents of Brockton, Massachusetts were dumbfounded to receive water bills as high as $100,000.
If the residents of Brockton are paying what I'm paying for water in Ohio, $.0031 per cubic foot, then $100,000 would fill a tank the length (300 feet) and breadth (160 feet) of a football field to about the height of an 18-story building. Put another way, it would fill up a third of the Dallas Cowboy's new Texas Stadium.
That's a lot of teenage showers.
"We have a lot of faulty water meters out there. There has to be. Nobody gets a $100,000 water bill," Brockton City Councilor Dennis Dinapoli told WCVB in Boston. Enterprisenews.com estimates that 8,000 to 9,000 meters in the city are failing, resulting in some residents being billed far less than they should have for years. Now, the water commission is trying to play catch-up, and residents are being slammed with these huge charges.
Last week, the water commission changed its policy to allow residents to pay these catch-up charges over three years instead of one. This did not mollify residents or the city council, which voted this week to open the books at the water commission so those suffering these huge bills could find out just where the problem lies.
Despite the backlash, the Department of Public Works is standing by the bills, stating that the updated readings are accurate. "People have to understand if they have used the product, the water, then they are expected to pay for what they used," the department's Commissioner Michael Thoresen told WCVB.
WalletPop recently reported that Baltimore tops major U.S. cities in utility costs. Until this snafu is straightened out, Brockton may just take over that honor.
WalletPop is awaiting a return call from the Water Commission of Brockton explaining its perspective on this problem.
Introduction to Value Investing
Are you the next Warren Buffett?View Course »