May 20, 2014 8:06 PM
The Bella Vista Water District in Redding is continuing to take drastic measures to ensure its customers are conserving water.
They notified more than 16,000 customers of a penalty they'll have to pay if they use more water than they're given.
One woman was charged almost a thousand dollars for something she says she was completely unaware of.
Phyla Weddle was beyond shocked when she opened her bill and saw this --
$919.20 that she has to pay the Bella Vista Water District by June.
“Well I actually glanced at it and thought it was $91...it was $919.20…just totally shocked.”
Weddle says all her previous water bills have been consistent between $120 and $150 dollars.
It was only until last week that Weddle realized what caused such a drastic spike in her latest bill.
“…it happened to be a shut-off valve leaking…so we had it fixed right away. I don’t know what’s going to go on now…”
Weddle was allotted about 75-hundred cubic feet of water between March and May. The bill indicates she used 167-hundred cubic feet -- that's about 200% more than what she was given.
“That newsletter didn’t get their attention…they didn’t read the newsletter, they just pulled their bill out of the envelope. The confusion is they didn’t read the newsletter, or chose not to understand the details of the newsletter…”
But Phyla received the letter from Bella Vista informing customers that they'd be penalized for using more water -- she says it wasn't negligence on her part -- it was only an accident.
“We intend to work with customers on a case-by-case basis if they can bring us some demonstrative proof of their leak…the repairs that they’ve made…we will try and factor that into their penalty.”
Weddle says she would have appreciated a heads up from the meter reader, once he or she noticed a jump in the numbers.
“…two, three years ago we had a small leak…and the man that came by to check the water said ‘you know, you’re up by quite a bit’, you better check it’…we did…but we didn’t hear anything this time.”
The water district told Weddle's son he'd have to write a letter explaining the nature of his mother's situation, so they can review the case and decide how to handle the bill.
“This was a total accident…and I guess if they say I have to pay it, then I have to pay it.”
If you are a water customer of the Bella Vista Water District, you can visit their website here to calculate your water usage.