OCEANSIDE, New York (WABC) --One family on Long Island found that they were overcharged on their water bill for 15 years! But instead of drowning in despair, they called 7 On Your Side to bail them out.
The water meters in these little manholes are marked with the house number now, but for the last 15 years, they were mistakenly mixed up.
Harriet Meiesel discovered meter mix up last summer when the water company turned off the flow from the main so the homeowner could do some work in the kitchen last August.
"He turned off the water and the plumber went back to do his work and it was pouring into my basement," Harriet said.
But her neighbor's sprinklers had stopped.
Harriet, her husband, and their dog in this house on the left. Their neighbor on the right has a big family regularly using more water. Both were paying each other's bill.
During the 15 year period, they were overcharged for 1.2 million gallons. That's enough to fill an Olympic-sized pool, not once but twice.
The neighbors used almost triple the water they did. The water company said it was about 225 gallons more a day. The couple says they've been trying for months to get New York American Water to reimburse them.
7 On Your Side worked with their water company going back years in records and finally figured out a settlement.
The refund with compounded interest? $20,000!
As for the neighbor that was "under" charged? Since it was the water company's mistake, the company isn't going to "back-bill" them.
The big takeaway here, hang on to your bills and monitor them. If they spike for no reason, call the water company to investigate.
For more information please visit: https://amwater.com/nyaw/water-information/detecting-leaks