HOUSTON — A 90-year-old Houston woman is wondering what she’s supposed to do after receiving water bills for tens of thousands of dollars. It’s an issue that she says started about a year ago and the problem still hasn’t been resolved.
Naomi Brazle reached out to KHOU 11 for help because over the last year, her water bill has continued to skyrocket. She says she’s tried to resolve it, but to no avail.
“The yellow, I guess it’s suppose to let you know it will be cut off if you don’t pay the bill,” she said, showing us her bill.
Naomi says her most recent water bill was bigger than you might expect. Way bigger.
“I received on May the 12th,” she said. “That's a few days ago.”
It was for $58,000.
It’s an issue her son, Reginald, said started about a year ago with the trailer Naomi is staying in, also on her family’s property, during her home renovation.
“Originally, it was a default in the trailer that no one was aware of, and it had something to do with the toilet system and it was the water just spewing going into the sewage,” he son, Reginald, told us.
At that point, Naomi got her first big bill.
“When she got the first bill over $5,000, you know, that got our attention. We contacted them several times, the contractor also, and tried to get them to help adjust it," Reginald said.
They say despite the water being cut off, Naomi’s bills kept rising. Multiple meter readings appeared to show virtually no change.
“You see the difference in the readings. It doesn't make any sense, to jump from $5,000, $12,000, then to $58,000,” Reginald said.
She says she’s made a lot of calls, but hasn’t gotten any traction.
“I've talked to the water company more than three times, only by myself, trying to get this settled and no consideration,” she said.
Now she’s hoping sharing her story will help bring about some kind of resolution.
“I hope this will be helpful,” she said. “I hope no one else has to go through what I'm going through because it's not a good feeling.”
Houston Public Works sent KHOU 11 a statement that reads, “Houston Public Works is actively looking into this account. We will work with the customer to ensure that they are only billed for the amount of water used. We encourage customers who believe they may have an inaccurate water bill to reach out to our Customer Account Services team.”
Originally, Houston Public Works had told us that they'd have an approved statement for KHOU 11 on Tuesday, May 16, asking that we hold the story until then. The statement above was provided to KHOU 11 shortly before the story aired at 6 p.m. on May 15.
Houston Public Works says this was a unique situation. This property was not affected by the high water bills some customers may have received due to meters' electronic reading device malfunctioning.