David is working at home, the five-year-old is not in school and — on one salary — they’re barely getting by. “Paycheque to paycheque,” is the description.
They’ve had many calls and emails to the water department, a reach-out to their city councillor, even a discussion with the house builder, Minto, to see if large volumes of water were used pre-occupation, then billed later.
“They seem to be saying that yes, even though we agree this looks like an anomaly, there’s nothing we can do,” said Kelly. She’s also checked with neighbours, none of whom had bills that yo-yoed like theirs.
“Nobody had any explanation. Everyone is just passing the buck,” said David.
The couple are now worried the billing problem is going to affect their good relationship with the landlord, with a lease renewal coming up later this year. David said he’s shown the landlord proof that all bills are paid, save the one under dispute.
There is a remote possibility the meter is defective. David said they were told the city would test the meter, but would charge the couple $300 if it were working properly and, if not, wouldn’t forgive the $1,000 bill for past consumption.
We tried to get an explanation from the city, but it cited privacy rules in declining to discuss this specific case.
It did offer some general information, some of it baffling.
“When an account is being billed on estimates, the estimate is noted on the bill. The City issues notifications every two months to the resident advising them to contact the City to have their meter repaired free of charge.”
Their meter repaired? The city sends an estimate for delivering an essential product and then asks the buyer to make sure the amount is correct — that the cash register, in essence, is working?
Shocking, really, with a touch of arrogance.
Something is messed up here. The city needs to explain and fix this, and — it wouldn’t hurt — apologize to this family for the untimely stress.
To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-291-6265 or email [email protected]
This content was originally published here.