Halifax group dinged by skyrocketing water bills band together hoping to avoid paying through the nose
HALIFAX -- A growing list of Halifax Water customers are dealing with inexplicably high bills.
Some are disputing bills four and five times higher than usual, and they say they're not getting anywhere with the utility.
One of those customers is Louise Thomas, who, with a four-month-old son, quite literally has her hands full most of the time these days -- especially with two other children aged five and three.
With her off on maternity leave, money's a little tight for Louise and her husband, but there's one nagging bill they wish they didn't have hanging over their heads.
"So, the Halifax Water company, they sent us a bill for just under $1,100, and typically, our bill every three months is under $200," Thomas said.
The bill arrived at the end of August and they've been disputing it ever since.
They checked taps and toilets, hoses and faucets and they found no leaks, water damage or flooding.
Mysteriously, the bulk of the usage took place during a single month.
"And then, all of a sudden, one day it dropped back to usual and never went up again," Thomas said.
Allie Fineberg is fighting her own inexplicably high bill – but hers is for $2,500. Fineberg put some feelers out on social media, and says so far she's heard from about 20 others in same boat.
"I need more people to tell me their stories, because it's only that way that I will be able to accomplish what I have to accomplish," said Fineberg.
For its part, Halifax Water says customers have myriad options to dispute bills, including an independent resolution officer.
The utility says its newly launched "customer connect" program is the best way to figure out where water's being used and when.
"Unless there's water passing through the meter, the meter won't register," said James Campbell of Halifax Water."We've actually had a situation in the past where there's been water stolen from a property by connecting to the outside hose-connections."
For now, Louise and others are working their way through various appeals, hoping that banding together will give them more clout in fighting bills they can't explain, and in some cases, can't afford to pay.