Anybody have this issue?

dennishoddy

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Mother in Law is in assisted living. Her home sits vacant in a nice neighborhood in Broken Arrow. Wife takes care of all her moms bills and business. Two months ago we got a water bill for $200. Wife called the billing dept and was told that all readings were electronic and electronics to not make a mistake. (I rolled eyes on that one after 46 years on the job building, designing and programming electronics)
We were at the home after coming back from Colorado for the summer. Spotted a toilet that was leaking so I turned the water off to that toilet thinking that was the issue.
When we left a couple days later I turned the water off to both toilets just as a safety thing.
Broken Arrow bills a month after the fact, so we just got a bill Thursday for $400 water usage for August thru September.
We called a plumber, made an appointment and drove to BA today.
Met with the plumbers and monitored the water meter which is electronic.
Zero water usage. The electronic meter monitors water flow down to 1/10 of a gallon in real time. Neither the plumbers nor ourselves saw any water usage. No wet spots in the yard, no runoff into the street. I inspected the outside hose bibs to see if there had been any hoses screwed onto them by neighbors stealing water with no evidence of any tampering. Spider webs in most of them.
From what we have determined, a city employee drives by each water meter along the curb and must "read" the meter with a hand held device as there is a small antenna on top of the meter cover.
Talked to two neighbors. Their water bills are normal.
It appears to me that the meter is not reading correctly.
Any Broken Arrow users have heard of this issue?
 

Glock 40

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How many gallons of water is that? My family of 4 uses 9-10k a month. When I am watering my half acre yard every other day on top of normal usage that's only time I get over $200 on city of Tulsa. Just looked at a bill 24k was $104 for just water.

I am thinking at that kind of money a major leak. Or as you said bad metter.
 

dennishoddy

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How many gallons of water is that? My family of 4 uses 9-10k a month. When I am watering my half acre yard every other day on top of normal usage that's only time I get over $200 on city of Tulsa. Just looked at a bill 24k was $104 for just water.

I am thinking at that kind of money a major leak. Or as you said bad metter.
The house has been vacant for over 6 months. Two licensed plumbers from AirCo, my wife and myself saw zero flow in the electronic meter reading which is real time.
 

tyromeo55

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have tons of meters in tulsa. Meters and readers can screw up. is there a counter on the meter itself? if so, how does it stack up to the bills reading. ask for an analog meter to be installed ahead of the digital one and and see if they mate up after a couple days
 

ignerntbend

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Can you trust the neighbors that they are not hooking up their hoes to your moms hose bib and watering their law, etc.
He already said, cobwebs in the bibs ("most of them"). Maybe there's a remote bib with no spider webs and they have a two hundred foot hose? How much water could they be stealing?
The plot thickens.

And many sympathies to anyone taking care of an elderly parent.

When a parent helps a child they both laugh. When a child helps a parent they both cry.
---Jewish proverb
 
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dennishoddy

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have tons of meters in tulsa. Meters and readers can screw up. is there a counter on the meter itself? if so, how does it stack up to the bills reading. ask for an analog meter to be installed ahead of the digital one and and see if they mate up after a couple days
It has to be false readings as the house is vacant and we saw zero usage with two plumbers witnessing the same on the electronic meter.
 

dennishoddy

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He already said, cobwebs in the bibs ("most of them"). Maybe there's a remote bib with no spider webs and they have a two hundred foot hose? How much water could they be stealing?
The plot thickens.

And many sympathies to anyone taking care of an elderly parent.
Thanks for the astute observation of the OP. The only hose bib that didn't have cob webs was one hooked to the manual sprinkler system for the lawn.
There are two hoses, one red and one blue. When the lawn needed watered, one had to hook up the blue hose for the front yard, remove it, and attach the red hose to the hose bib for the back yard. Pretty simple system and it took channel lock pliers to remove the hose attached. It was dry inside. No leaks there.
A quick google earth search showed nobody within 1/4 mile has a pool. We thought about theft of services.
 

tyromeo55

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It has to be false readings as the house is vacant and we saw zero usage with two plumbers witnessing the same on the electronic meter.
yep I think so too. the problem is getting the water co to do something about it. That is what I was leading towards. One building we had slowly creep'd up to about $4K monthly bill (from 1500). There were problems but not to that extent. proving the issue was a SOB and trying to get a reimbursement is another
 

Snattlerake

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Complain to the water department about a possible faulty meter. When they again tell you electronics don't make mistakes, advise your lawyer doesn't either. Impress upon them that you have investigated all of the possible causes of the high water bills and have had zero water usage over X months and they had better meet you and a plumber at the meter within a week or be taken to court. Their inaction and failure to even offer to assist with fixing the problem is abhorrent to public service.

This reminds me of the SW Bell telephone company that took charges they could not collect from someone's bill and added them to other people's bill. Don't doubt me on this. I've seen it happen.
 

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