San Benito Woman Struggling to Get Answers on Recent Overcharged Water Bills

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SAN BENITO – A woman living in San Benito said she has recently been overpaying for her water service despite her effort to reduce consumption.

Angela Rodriguez said she's lived in the same home for two years. It was just recently, she said, that her water bills started skyrocketing.

Calculating numbers and keeping a tight grip on her pocketbook, Rodriguez said she runs a tight budget.

When her water bills went from about $100 to over $250, she knew something was wrong.

"Watch water usage in this house, because I don't want, you know, my bills to be (high)," she said, "so even with us watching the usage of water, I was still getting these kinds of bills."

Rodriguez said the high water bills continued for the next few months. 

Her landlord called a plumber to check for leaks. She said he didn't find any.

Rodriguez went to the city wanting to know how her usual consumption of water went from around 7,000 to 9,000 gallons to almost 38,000.

"Finally, when I went to go meet with (San Benito City Manager) Mr. (Manuel) De la Rosa and Fred Bell, they just acted very nonchalant about it," Rodriguez said. "They just pretty much said that, 'Oh this happens,' that the guys sometimes round-off, their readings. To me, going from 9,000 to 37,000, 33,000, that's a lot of rounding off."

Rodriguez said she has yet to get a straight answer from the city.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with city spokeswoman Martha McClain about Rodriguez's concerns. McClain wouldn't give an on-camera interview.

She did release a statement, which reads in part:

"The meter was inspected to ensure it was operating properly. City personnel read the water meter and found it to have an accurate reading."

She also states that the city credited Rodriguez's entire September bill of $96.

McClain also went on to state, "it would be conjecture, speculative, and irresponsible for the city to determine how the water was consumed."

Rodriguez said the city needs to investigate what's happening, so she won't get stuck paying the high bills.

She adds that her most recent bill is back under $100 and her consumption rates are also back to normal, something she also can't explain.

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