Skyrocketing water bills mystify, anger Atlanta residentsSubmitted by Bob-45 on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:24
Skyrocketing water bills mystify, anger residents By Scott Zamost and Kyra Phillips, CNN Special Investigations Unit
March 2, 2011 9:42 a.m. EST
City water officials received more than 22,000 calls in January
Many problems arise after installation of automated water meters
Similar water bill spikes reported in Ohio, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Florida
Editor's note: This report follows a four-month look into Atlanta water bill complaints conducted by CNN's Kyra Phillips and the CNN Special Investigations Unit. Follow CNN Senior Investigative Producer Scott Zamost on Twitter.
Atlanta (CNN) -- Imagine paying as much for water as you do for your mortgage.
Residents throughout Atlanta are outraged by hundreds, even thousands of dollars in monthly spikes in their water bills, and have questioned the legitimacy of the charges for years. Now, they're demanding answers.
"I thought we were sinking in a hole of water," said Debbi Scarborough. "It scared me to death. I thought we had a major leak when I got the bill."
Over two months last summer, her family's monthly water bill, shot up to $1,805 In July and then $1,084 in August, leaving a balance due of more than $3,000. She said in the past her bill has averaged $200 to $250.
"I'm not paying a $3,000 bill. And for those three months, we were pretty much out of town most of the time and there's no leaks," she said, showing CNN a copy of her plumber's report.