Lawn

Area resident Michael Wise shows the portion of his lawn where his water meter is located on Friday, Nov. 16, 2019.

For some it might be hard to imagine receiving a utility bill totaling 50%, 60% or more than the average monthly statement.

Several residents in New Braunfels’ Guadalupe County section have complained of such bills recent weeks.

Some of them, as would be expected, questioned the validity of the bills received and the process by which the Green Valley Special Utility District measures water usage and assesses payment amounts. Good luck with that.

Customers who said they received exorbitant bills following the dry, hot summer — bills double, triple or even higher than normal — also said went to the utility’s offices or called only to be told that the accounting was correct, the billing statements were accurate, the utility saw similar increases throughout its system, the higher bills were due to customer error, leaks, additional use and more.

GVSUD customers said they were given such excuses without anyone so much as visiting their homes or doing any kind of check at the residences to confirm the meter readings.

We say GVSUD has a disconnect.

General Manager Pat Allen said his company relies on its meters to be correct and when they aren’t, any malfunction almost always result in a benefit to the customer. Water meters, when operating incorrectly, slow down or completely stop counting the gallons of water a customer uses, Allen said.

In his “20-some-odd” years in the business, he’s never seen a meter speed up and overcharge a customer for water usage, Allen said.

Still, he acknowledged recently learning of a family that claimed to have had a bill totaling nearly 100,000 gallons of water used in a mere month’s time. GVSUD planned to check into the issue, which Allen said seemed odd.

“I will agree their usage was pretty normal, minimal, then all of a sudden, bam, 96,000 gallons,” he said. “We’re investigating that.”

And that’s what others want, at the least. Check into it, make a positive determination and then go from there.

The excuses, blame shifting and lack of personal accountability, or even the possibility of such, are frustrating customers and doing nothing in the way of assuaging their concerns.

People who pay the public utility faithfully deserve better. If there is an issue causing massive leaks in the system, we all deserve better. Water is too precious to go to waste.

So are the potential dollars customers are wasting, potentially.

Our Voice is the opinion of the editorial board of the Seguin Gazette.

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