CALL 11 FOR ACTION: What to do when your water bill is way too high

CALL 11 FOR ACTION: What to do when your water bill is way too high

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A Toledo man received a water bill so far off the usual amount that he questioned why this particular bill was so high.

"There's no way I've used that much water, I don't believe it," said Ken Frosch.

Frosch has lived in his South Toledo home for 10 years and every 3 months he's paid about $110-$125.

"When I opened this bill for this quarter, it was $831!" said Frosch.

All Frosch could think was 'why'?

"I don't have a sprinkler system, I don't have a swimming pool, I live by myself," said Frosch. "I do the normal things. Shower, dishes, wash."

Turns out, the meter in his basement needed to be replaced. It wasn't in sync with the reader outside the house. After that was fixed, the bill came again but a little lower this time.

"It was still for $577, which I think is outrageous," said Frosch. "So I called Call 11 for Action."

WTOL's Emilie Voss reviewed Frosch's billing history with him.

"I don't know where their numbers are coming from," said Frosch.

Looking his bills it was unclear.

"I would like sit down with someone and have them explain what's on the paper," said Frosch.

Toledo Utilities Administration Commissioner Abby Arnold reviewed the situation and had a meeting with Frosch. Turns out Frosch's meter had slowed down, and he wasn't getting charged for all the water he was actually using. But he didn't know that.

"We tried to go back and determine what would be normal usage for him and at what point did the usage start to drop off?," said Commissioner Arnold.

Water is measured in a unit called a 'CCF.' 1 CCF = 748 gallons.

In Frosch's case, his bill said he was using 2 or a 3 CCFs a quarter for over a year, when in reality he was probably using about 9.

After figuring out what Frosch normally used before the meter broke, Commissioner Arnold dropped his bill again, from $577 to $348. He's a lot happier with that than with the $831.

So how do you make sure this doesn't happen to you?

Learn how to read your water bill, and know what your magic number is. That magic number is how many CCFs you'd use per quarter.

For example, industry average is about 15 CCFs for one single adult.

Add one more adult, add 10 more CCFs.

Every additional kid, add 5 more.

So, a married couple with 2 small kids would likely be in the ballpark of 35 CCFs. Again, this is just an average but it's a starting point to compare to your bill. Teenagers tend to be more like an additional adult since they use more water than a small child.

Once you have your number, now you need to find your letter. It's in the box on your bill to the left of the CCF number, and it'll likely be an 'A' or an 'E'.

'E' is for estimated. This can be a warning that something else is going on. It's usually estimated because your read came back out of the ordinary.

And Frosch's low numbers were estimated, not actual.

Also look on your utility bill to see when next scheduled meter read is. Around that date you should look at your meter and if you have an outside register check that as well, to not only make sure they match each other but also your next bill.

Frosch says because of all this, he now knows what to look for.

"I'd just like to thank Channel 11," said Frosch. "I don't think I would have gotten this far without you guys."

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