Months later, some Durham residents still getting higher-than-normal water bills

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Customers in Durham are voicing concerns about higher than normal water bills. CBS 17 has heard from a number of customers in recent months with much higher water bills than normal.

Durham resident Sandra Benavides said she usually doesn’t see a water bill higher than $40.

But in the months of July and August, her water bill was more than $200 each month, which is almost seven times the amount she usually has to pay.

“My consumption had not changed,” Benavides said. “I was not watering plants outside. There was nothing unusual.”

She said officials with the city of Durham’s Department of Water Management told her that she likely had a water leak and to have a plumber come out and make a repair.

She said they told her she would get refunded a percentage of her highest bill, but she said she did not have the money to pay for a plumber.

“I don’t have that kind of money after paying out over $600 for water in the last four months,” Benavides said.

But, in September, Benavides said her water bill dropped back down to normal. She said there were no repairs on any water leaks at her home.

“What needs to be done is an explanation as to why this is so high,” she said.

Department of Water Management officials said they are working with Benavides to find out what caused her water bills to go up.

Benavides is not the only customer who has experienced higher-than-normal water bills in Durham in recent months.

As CBS 17 previously reported in the summer, there were about 3,000 water meters that incorrectly estimated water usage. That led to higher water bills.

Any customers in Durham who experience higher than normal water bills can call Durham One Call at 919-560-1200 or contact the city’s water efficiency experts.

The City of Durham offers audits for $25 where staff will come out and check for possible water leaks at your home.

City officials said on Wednesday that the Department of Water Management Department will get direction from the city in the next week on what do regarding the customers’ accounts impacted by the incorrect water meter readings over the summer.

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