DEL CITY, Okla. — People who live in a Del City neighborhood are speaking out about their water bills doubling and tripling. In some cases, residents say their bills are eight times higher than their average bill.
“It went from $47 last month, and we had all this rain last month, and it jumps to $128 this month,” Robert Wheeler, who lives in Valley Brook, said.
Earlier this month, Wheeler told News 4 his alleged water usage went from about 2,000 gallons to a whopping 14,000 gallons.
Now, the same thing is happening in a Del City neighborhood.
Both neighborhoods are customers of Sooner Utility.
“For the past 3 years, my water bill average is $20.70, with the exception when my family has come in for Christmas and it was $40,” Christine Shields said.
Shields’ most recent water bill totals $177.90, and her neighbors have similar tales to tell.
"After I had somebody come out and make sure that we had no water leaks, because I thought maybe there was a water leak that we didn't know about, and there wasn't, the next thing I did was I spoke with the neighbors up and down the street and all of the neighbors have a bill that's either doubled or tripled," Shields said.
She checked her meter, which looked like it hadn’t been read in months. However, the owner of Sooner Utility said he personally went out and read them.
“His excuse to me was that he hired a meter reader and for the last four months, the meter reader didn’t read the meters and was trying to screw his company and said that all of us customers used the lowest amount of water possible and that he personally had to go out on the weekend and read all of these meters,” Shields said.
That’s what he told News 4 too, adding that he had to make up for the money that was lost.
People like Shields were shocked to open up their bill and see, in Shields' case, 19,000 gallons of usage.
So, even though she doesn't own a pool, Shields called a pool company.
"I was told that you could fill a pool, a 6 ft, 6 by 9 ft, pool three times to get 19,000 gallons," she said. "We'll pay it, but I'm scared for the people who are on a fixed income," Shields said.
The owner of Sooner Utility told News 4 that he would help those who can’t pay at all once with a payment plan.