Valley Brook residents fed up with high water bills

VALLEY BROOK, Okla. - Valley Brook residents are fed up with water bills they said have doubled, in some cases tripled, this past month.

"It's been going on for a while; it's just that I'm getting fed up with it," Robert Wheeler told News 4. "It went from $47 last month, and we had all this rain last month and it jumps to $128 this month."

Wheeler is talking about his recent water bill.

He said he and his wife usually use between 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of water each month. However, his recent bill reflects 14,000 gallons of usage.

"That'd be like a big ol' water leak underneath my house because it's only me and my wife there, a family of two and two dogs," Wheeler said.

Wheeler showed us his meter, which looked like it hadn't been read in quite some time.

He's not alone.

"They don't read our meters. I mean my meter is covered in two to three feet in dirt. I put landscape timbers up around my meter because he said he couldn't find it, couldn't get to it to read it," said Sonya Ferguson.

Ferguson said her bills have totaled about $80 recently and she doesn't think she's used that much water.

"My yard is almost barren. I don't water my yard," Ferguson said.

News 4 spoke with the owner of the company, Sooner Utility, who said they've been having to play catch up after firing the meter reader who wasn't actually reading the meter, just estimating.

That's why he said bills had been low for so many months.

Residents are still in disbelief about the alleged usage.

"We've come up with an idea of taking a picture every month on the 15th when they're supposed to read it and, next month, take another picture with a date and everything on it and we'll compare it and see if it matches up," Wheeler said.

The owner of Sooner Utility said he personally went out and read the meters for last month's billing cycle. He also said he is working with residents who can't afford to pay up front on a payment plan.