Homeowners in NE Harris County on water bills: ‘We’re being robbed’

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 18 at 12:04 AM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- The water streaming from the faucets in the Castlewood Subdivision is boiling over with outrage.

“We’re just being robbed,” said one homeowner.

“I’m just angry,” another homeowner added.

Many homeowners felt blind-sided by their recent water bills which included a $60 surcharge, nearly twice as much as most of them pay in a month.

“I’m on a fixed income and it goes only so far,” said Pat York. “It’s a big hardship. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Some of her neighbors believe their service provider, Suburban Utility, doesn’t deserve any more of their money.

“I mean you’ll come home or wake up and there’s no water,” said Steven Adame. “You’ll call and you’ll get an answering service and they’ll tell you someone is working on it.”

Suburban sent out notices several weeks ago notifying homeowners of the pending changes to their bills. Hundreds of neighbors signed a petition and contacted their State Representative to complain.

“I don’t understand why they’re asking for a rate increase knowing that they’ve had these problems for many years,” said State Representative Armando Walle, of the 140th district.

Almost as upsetting to neighbors as the amount of the rate increase is when it took effect…just a few days after state regulators agreed to grant a hearing to customers angry over Suburban’s plans.

“If it’s not a money grab, then I don’t know what you call it,” said Walle.

KHOU called Suburban to get the company’s side. An operator referred us to an attorney’s office. We left numerous messages over several days but no one ever got back with us. In the meantime, frustrated neighbors await a hearing and the chance to stem the flow of a rate hike many say they cannot afford.

“It’s just not right what they’re trying to do to us,” said Adame.

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