We just received our third public utility bill since moving here from New Mexico. Our first was for a partial billing cycle, but still seemed rather high. The second was exorbitant. It was actually higher than our bill in a state that had been experiencing an actual water shortage emergency.
The third bill was exactly the same amount as the second. My partner was gone for two weeks, so our water usage was cut by at least 20%, but the bill indicated the exact same amount of usage.
So my partner spent hours on the phone waiting for an actual human being to discuss the issue. When she finally reached someone, she spoke to someone explained that our water usage was based on past usage.
How far back? Before we lived here, perhaps a former tenant with a larger family? Perhaps a cannabis grower, guessing by the discarded items left in our shed? But even if it was based on our previous cycles usage, we should pay for what we actually use, not their convenient guestimate.
This is not how a public utility should behave. No transparency, accountability or fixed standards – just a shifting set of expectations created by the party forcing you to participate in their monopoly. But you can sure bet that if you cannot afford to pay, they’ll endanger your life by shutting off access to clean water.
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