Backwards meter leads to nearly $1K water bill

Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 at 9:12 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Seventy-four-year-old Johnnie Coleman is livid after she received a water bill for almost a thousand dollars last month.

"There is nothing wrong with my plumbing or the insides of my house," Coleman said. "It sent my pressure up sky high. I didn't know what to do."

She says her high water bills started in December when she got one for more than $500. Then it shot up to nearly a thousand in January and back down to more than $800 this month.

That bill had a "final disconnect notice on it" so she went down to Birmingham Water Works and paid 400 of that to keep her water on.

She lives in a small house in Pratt City and says there's no way she uses that much water.

Birmingham Water Works told her to check for a leak.

"I hired a plumber. There is no leak under my house. There's no leak in my house. There is no leak around my house," she explained.

Turns out, her water meter was placed in the ground backward. Birmingham Water Works fixed it and took a little off her bill, but she still owes the rest.

"How in the world my bill can average over six years about 80 some odd dollars to about $500 in just one month? This picture does not jive," she said.

Birmingham Water Works admits it has billing problems and is working to fix everything. In the meantime, Coleman says she shouldn't be responsible for water she didn't use.

"This is their glitch and they were supposed to be straightening out. But if they are straightening it out, why do they keep sending these disconnect notices out," Coleman asked.

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