Local residents hit with high water bills

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry has called for temporary relief for San Diegans complaining about high water bills. Customers say the city is charging them for water they did not use. In the last two months, Bry said her office has been flooded with calls from frustrated ratepayers. An audit of the Public Utilities Department is underway and should be completed this June.

Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry released this statement, “We are hearing from San Diego residents who have complained about inexplicably high water bills and are now at risk of losing service if they do not pay their bills within the normal billing timeline. Some ratepayers have received bills that are thousands of dollars higher than what they normally pay. I am requesting that the PUD not require full payment if the account holder is contesting the amount of their bill until the department completes its investigation and provides a response. At that time, the customer should be given a minimum of 30 days to pay or make arrangements for payment. If the customer still believes the billing is inaccurate, they should be allowed to delay full payment until the City Auditor has completed their report. During this time, residents who are challenging their bills should pay an amount based on their average usage or the usage reported for that particular billing cycle during the previous year. We must ensure that San Diegans retain access to water during this investigation.”

Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry represents San Diego City Council District 1, which includes the communities of Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Mesa, La Jolla, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, and University City.

Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry Calls for City Audit of Public Utilities Department Billing Procedures

San Diego—In November, my office began receiving complaints from District 1 residents regarding abnormally high water bills. My team has been meeting with constituents and connecting them with the Public Utilities Department (PUD) to have their individual situations investigated. In many cases, the PUD found no leaks or clear reasons to account for the increased water usage, so we are still seeking answers as to why these hikes are occurring.
Based on conversations with my Council colleagues and recent news reports, it is clear this issue is having an impact citywide. In order to ensure the water bills San Diegans are receiving are accurate and precise, I have asked our City Auditor, Eduardo Luna, to conduct a comprehensive audit of the PUD’s data acquisitions and billing procedures. I am grateful that Mr. Luna has agreed to expand the scope of an already scheduled FY 2018 audit of the PUD’s Customer Support Division to include this additional review, and I look forward to seeing the results of this audit by June of 2018. I have also reached out to Councilmember Lorie Zapf, the chair of the Audit Committee, who confirmed her support of this audit moving forward.
My office is committed to helping San Diego ratepayers resolve their cases and discovering the reasons for these recent water bill spikes.

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