MIAMI SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - A homeowner got blindsided by her water bill. The county said she owed more than $60,000, so what’s behind the sudden surge?
Sandra Ruiz and another Miami Springs customer noticed a big mistake on their June water bills.
“My bill was almost $61,000,” said Ruiz.
“I see $31,000, and I go, ‘What happened? What is this?'” said Yolanda Martinez.
Both women said they reached out to the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department about the extremely high bills.
Both of them were shocked and a bit stressed by the amounts.
“It’s anxiety because I don’t want to owe anything that big,” Martinez said.
“I couldn’t believe it. I logged out and tried again. I said, ‘This can’t be,’” Ruiz said.
In Ruiz’s case, she normally pays anywhere between $50 to $75 a month for her water bill.
Martinez owns an 11-unit apartment building, and her account shows she pays more than $1,000 but not $31,000.
“They said, ‘This must be a mistake,’” Martinez said.
According to officials with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, customers who live in Miami Springs have automated meters.
It’s part of a pilot program.
“We never want our customers to pay one penny more than the water services that they received and used,” said Jennifer Messemer, Public Information Officer at Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer.
So when these two customers logged on to their accounts online, behind the scenes, crews also noticed the high bills and were already working on correcting the inaccurate readings.
“When we have these automated bills come in and their meters are read and downloaded to our department, we have safeguards in place. Our systems worked. They caught the bill that was obviously not correct,” Messemer said.
They said these were isolated incidents, and there may be a delay on what the customer sees online.
In Ruiz’s case, it was a glitch that caused the issues, and her meter was reprogrammed.
In Martinez’s case, it happened after a new meter was put in, and it has since been fixed.
“If you ever have a bill that you feel is incorrect, you can always request that you have your consumption be reevaluated,” Messemer said.
Both women said once they see the adjusted bills online, they’ll feel better about it.
“They should at least send an alert to residents and consumers if there’s an issue. We’re looking into it,” Ruiz said.
“Since there is only one thing that I will take with me when I die, which is my name, I want it to be in good standing all the time,” Martinez said.
If you ever notice anything off about your water bill, feel free to contact the water department.
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