A woman living in northeast Houston still has no answers about what caused her water bill to jump to nearly $2,000 six months ago.
She claims she was overcharged by five times her normal usage, and after inquiring with Houston Public Works multiple times, the issue still hasn’t been resolved.
Patsy Malvo has been living in her house located in the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood for about 12 years. During that time, she said her water bill typically fluctuates between about $50 to $200 per month.
But to her surprise, she opened a bill last November that came out to a staggering $1,626.86. Investigators reviewed several of her statements and saw that the numbers remained pretty consistent, except in October 2022 when it spiked to about three times her normal usage.
“I’m not at home that much. I’m here by myself. I checked around my house for water leaks and I don’t see anything. I don’t hear anything. So why am I being charged like this?” Malvo asked. “It’s really stressful.”
Malvo said she reached out to the city several times and was told to just pay her usual balance while they investigate.
“(Public Works) sent someone out here. So I opened the meter and showed (the crew member) that, ‘Hey, there’s no meter in here.’ So, he said, ‘Well, how are they billing you?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know,'” she recalled.
Then, two weeks ago, Malvo received a letter from the city, stating crews could not access her water meter because it’s being obstructed. If she doesn’t address it, they could put a lien on her house.
Malvo showed reporters where she believes her meter is supposed to be, right outside her driveway in a publicly accessible spot. But it’s broken and not connected to anything, so she doesn’t know what to do. She’s now worried she could lose her home.
“I was hopeless. So that’s why I called you guys,” Malvo said.
Reporters reached out to Houston Public Works on her behalf. A spokesperson said it will send someone back out by Tuesday to inspect the location of Malvo’s meter.
As for her outstanding bill, investigators jointly completed a form with Malvo in order to obtain information about her account due to a state confidentiality law. Houston Public Works said it could take a few days before the city can provide some answers.