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Water bill sky rockets for some Guthrie residents

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GUTHRIE, Okla. - The same company that messed up Kingfisher water meter readings, leaving customers with bills hundreds of dollars higher than usual, has now messed up Guthrie readings as well.

According to Guthrie City Manager Sereniah Breland, Burrell Inc. was contracted for both communities.

Some residents in Guthrie have been enjoying lower water bills over the summer, but now they`re being hit with surprising charges.

'This is this month`s bill and it`s $152.62." Charla Friend said.

Friend was shocked when she got that bill; she says it is almost $100 more than she usually pays.

Sereniah Breland says a contract water meter reader was terminated after they learned he simply did not read the meters, estimated the readings, or underestimated them. The mistakes happened this summer during May, June, and July.

Customers were not charged properly then, and are paying for it now, months later.

"Our goal is to not financially burden our residents, but that they do have to recognize that the water was consumed and it has to be paid for." Breland said.

But Friend disagrees.

"That`s not our problem. We shouldn't have to pay for somebody else`s mistakes. We can`t afford that. That`s just not right." She said.

Right or not, customers now face a one-time charge to correct the previous month's bills. The city has set up a zero interest payment plan for customers to help reduce their bill.

The city wants to eventually install automatic meters to avoid any future mix ups.

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