BRUNSWICK, Ohio (WOIO) - A Brunswick woman is searching for answers after her water bill jumped by about 500 percent.
“I was so frustrated,” said Laurel Wolf. “Just furious!”
After a measly $12.81 bill in December, Wolf said her February bill skyrocketed to $71.59.
She’s confident she didn’t use that much water.
“I know I didn’t! There’s only one person in the house. It’s impossible,” she said.
Wolf told 19 News that she called the Cleveland Water Department. “All they told me is I have a leak in my house,” which she said she had checked out by a handyman.
Wolf, who’s on social security, continued to battle with the water department. Eventually, she paid the bill to avoid a shutoff.
She said the water department eventually told her it was a catch-up bill. Her understanding was that it was to make up for previous months when the meter wasn’t read, leading to bills based on estimates.
When contacted by 19 News, the Cleveland Water Department acknowledged that Wolf had been given a catch-up bill, suggesting a possible issue with the Automated Meter Reader (AMR).
Commissioner Alex Margevicius said the AMR isn’t always 100 percent accurate, leading to estimates on billing charges. When asked about Wolf’s increase, Margevicius said customers with traditionally low usage can see big spikes when the previous estimates are corrected.
“It’s infuriating,” said Wolf. “When you’re on a limited budget, you pay for the service and expect it to be done properly.”