Call for Action: Sudden spike in water bills questioned

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - An issue brought to light through social media. Some residents noticed a large spike in their water bill through Colorado Springs Utilities in recent months. Posts on several community Facebook pages were brought to the attention of 11 News by viewers: Why did some people see an increase ranging from $20 to upwards of $400 or more in a matter of a month for their water bill?

"About fainted when I saw a $460 bill,” Stephanie Gordon said.

"It was $196 last month and now it's $446,” Kathryn Riegle said.

11 News requested an interview with Colorado Springs Utilities and was told there was nothing out of the ordinary on their side.

After talking with several families who had high bills, our 11 News crew noticed the majority of them live on the northeast side of the springs.

11 News asked utilities if there could be an issue on that side of town, they said there is not.

“We’ve received several comments today [Wednesday] about high bills, what customers perceive to be high bills, " said Eric Isaacson with Colorado Springs Utilities. "We did an in-depth look into our metering and billing system and we haven’t found any issues or errors with them.”

Our 11 News crew took a look at the Gordon family’s bill, on it you can see their water usage trend in a graph - June, July and August are all the same. In September, you can see a huge jump on the graph.

"We didn't build a pool in our house, didn't build a pool outside, no hot tub. Nothing has changed,” Gordon said.

Isaacson said he couldn't speak on behalf of specific customers after multiple people reached out to 11 News for answers. Isaacson went on to say weather may have played a role.

Stephanie Gordon says their watering timer was the same from June through September.

“We had a really wet cool summer in the middle June, July, August, water use was down, way down, but then at the end of August, when it got warm again and it dried up again, we saw the water usage come back up just like we did in the spring,” Isaacson explained.

Isaacson added September was a longer billing period than August, and a "tiered" payment system the utility company uses can increase how much customers pay. Essentially, the more water a customer uses, the higher the price of water increases.

Colorado Springs Utilities also posted a Facebook live video in response to the inquiries. That video can be viewed at the bottom of this article.

Utilities told some customers 11 News talked with, to check all their toilets to make sure they didn't have any leaks.

Larry Wieker, Owner of B&L Plumbing says there's an easy way to check for that at home. You can just put some coffee in the tank and let it sit for a minute. If the color goes down into the bowl, you know you have a leak.

11 News was told Colorado Springs Utilities has done a "full investigation" into the question of higher-than-normal bills.
Springs Utilities say they can send someone to your house for free, to see if there are any leaks.

11 News is continuing to look into the issue.