Rowlett homeowner questions big water bill

A lot of people in Rowlett are complaining about water bills that are suspiciously high.

It isn't just the dollar amount -- it's how much water they're being told they're using.

FOX 4 has been looking into the issue, and we found that unlike electricity, there's no regulatory agency that people can turn to for help.

The City of Rowlett has been getting so many complaints about high water usage, they've had to get five more employees to man the phones.

Dawn Buccafusco is like many North Texans who have sticker shock from their latest water bills.

"When I was waiting for my meter, there were three people in there, and all three were complaining about how high their bill was,” she said.

The city of Rowlett says the high bills are a combination of higher water rates and the end of three years of water restrictions.

"What we have found in most every case we've investigated is that, people are using more water,” said assistant city manager Jim Proce. “In some circumstances, we have made adjustments where it is undetermined, or it is unlikely.”

But Buccafusco did not receive any adjustment for her bill, which she is convinced is inaccurate.

It says her family used 153,000 gallons of water last month. That would be enough to fill up a swimming pool, which she does not have, 10 times.

The bill is for $811.

“There's no possible way,” said Buccafusco. “There's no way…we would see it. There would be water standing everywhere.”

The city came out and determined that Buccafusco did not have a leak.

“If you’re out there and you have a concern, we have a team of people who do care,” said Proce. “They do want to get to the bottom of your issue."

Rowlett uses Sensus meters. Buccafusco's was installed in 2012.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Sensus is currently replacing 1,500 of its meters in a community there.

Meters installed in Aurora between 2012 and July of 2015 were registering water usage even when disconnected.

But Rowlett says their tests revealed that Buccafusco's meter was working properly.

“I am helpless because if I don't pay my bill, they said they'd turn my water off,” said Buccafuso. “They said I had to pay my bill because the old meter passed.”

Buccafusco's new meter shows normal water usage.

She is now paying to have her meter independently tested.

FOX 4 reached out to Sensus, and a spokesperson told us to address any questions we have to Rowlett.

On Friday afternoon, the assistant city manager told FOX 4 that the city will likely make an adjustment in Buccafusco's case and several other highly unusual cases.

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